Adding for local African languages in Dootronics



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Hello all! This post is to see whether it would make sense for Labdoo if the dootronics shipped to Africa were equipped with (software) keyboards to support writing in local languages. From my own experience there is interest in local communities - here is the background story:

I have been recently in Cameroon with Labdoo laptops creating an IT class in a school at Younde. When in Cameroon, among other issues that were discussed was that there is a general lack in support for writing local languages in both computers and mobile devices, which hinders valuable efforts of local communities to practice or even revive the languages they use orally. Although writing systems exist, there are no practicable keyboards for it. As an answer to this, when I created both an Android (and Windows PC too, pity I don't have a port for Linux but it could be feasible) application that allows writing special characters in practically all local languages. The Android one is on the Play Store, you can see it under ( or on my website ) . I was wondering if it was of any interest to include it to Labdoo Android devices such as tablets, when they are shipped to Africa. In many places local languages are actively used or at least serious efforts to use them are made, but the means of writing them are very lacking so far. I have received a lot of supporting comments from linguistic sphere and from individual users in many African countries who use it. Do you think it would interest Labdoo?


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Gespeichert von jordi am Do, 11/17/2016 - 11:38

Hi Dominik,

Sorry first of all for this delayed response. Some of us have been overwhelmed as the number of school projects to serve continues to grow.

I also want to congratulate you for the great work you are doing in helping preserve the local languages in Africa. Preservation of language&culture (specially of the more local languages) it is precious to our human heritage and part of the Labdoo values as well, so i think your app is a really good idea.

In our wiki we maintain a list of keyboards so that users can install the most appropriate configuration based on their local language:

There is a link to our ftp server where you can download all the layouts:

For instance in Swahili:

Most of the dootronics Labdoo deals with are laptops, so currently we do not have many Android tablets (some, but not many). In the future though, tablets will take a more relevant role. So i think it is a good idea to add a note in the wiki about your app so others can use it too.

Could you please click on "Edit" in the following page and add one paragraph description of your app? (i just gave you wiki edit rights):

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Gespeichert von dominik.ramik am Do, 11/17/2016 - 12:33

Hi Jordi! Thanks for your kind reply. It is a great idea from Labdoo to maintain a list of keyboard layouts. I guess those are fairly standard ones shipped with the Ubuntu flavor used on dootronics. I will definitely add the description to the page you mentioned.

Have you ever got some feedback from African dootronics users that they would be happy to be able to type their local languages (layouts for most of them are absent in Ubuntu and Windows)? I researched a bit and it seems to be pretty straightforward to create a new keyboard layout for Ubuntu. For instance:

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Gespeichert von jordi am Fr, 11/18/2016 - 12:38

Hi Dominik! i personally have not received feedback from African dootronics about the layouts, but other Labdooers might have. That's one of the reasons we created the list of keyboards layouts.

Thank you for helping to improve our wiki and also for your research on keyboard layouts!