November 10, 2019

Janayugam Moves to Free Software, Malayalam Speech Corpus and More: SMC Monthly Updates October 2019

Janayugam Adopts Unicode and Moves to Free software

Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurates Janayugam's free software adoption event.

Janayugom is a Malayalam daily with nearly one lakh subscribers and 14 bureaus across Kerala. Janayugom used to depend upon proprietary sofwares and platforms for printing and publishing processes including outdated Adobe Pagemaker which only supports ASCII encoding. By November 1st, Janayugom announced that they are moved to free software, Unicode and comprehensive orthography fonts for day to day applications. This news was officially announced by Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala.

Major applications used in this adoption process are - Scribus for type setting and layout, GIMP & Inkscape for graphics and a customized Kubuntu variant - Janayugom Linux as the operating system.  

November 1st edition of Janayugom announcing migration to free software. (Photo Credit: Praveen Areembrathodiyil)

As a part of the move, an ASCII to Unicode converter - Janayugom Edit and an Unicode Malayalam font - TN Joy are released. Rajaji Mathew Thomas (chief editor of Janayugom), K.H. Hussain (Founder of Rachana Aksharavedi and developer of fonts like Rachana, Sunder and Uroob), P. K. Ashok Kumar were the key people in this adoption along with Mujeeb Rahman, Ranjith Siji, Ambdai Anand & Kannan VM of Alpha Fork technologies, a free software startup, which acted as the technical consultant.

Janayugom Edit (Freaknz-qt) Released

Janayugom Edit in action.

As a part of Janayugam Daily's migration to Unicode and free software, AlphaFork, released ACSII to Unicode converter Janyugom Edit (based on Freaknz-qt) under GPL3 license. Written in C++ and Qt, Janayugom Edit can also convert Adobe Page Maker files with ASCII encoding to Unicode. The conversion algorithm is based upon libindic's Payyans.

Unicode Malayalam Font - TN Joy Released

TN Joy Font

As a part of Unicode and free software adoption process of Janayugom, Rachana institute of Typography developed and released Unicode font named after the late activist T.N. Joy. Designed by Hussain K.H, the font also includes contributions from Rajeesh KV. The font is released under SIL Open Font License and is available to public for free at

Malayalam Speech Corpus Project Commenced

Desktop Interface of MSC. Similar interface is available for Mobile also.

Malayalam Speech Corpus (MSC) project attempts to create a free CC-By-SA licensed Malayalam speech corpus. The web interface can be used by individuals to contribute to this project. The website provides a simple and mobile friendly interface to make contribution procedure easier. As of now, there are 100+ contributors, 500+ speech samples and 70+ minutes of audio data.

How to Contribute?

  1. Go to and login using your Google account
  2. Once logged in, you will see a sentence and a mic icon. Press mic icon to start recording
  3. Read the sentence as much as natural. Your accent is totally acceptable.
  4. You can re-record if you are not satisfied with the recording. You can always listen to what you recorded.
  5. Try to use the application from a mobile and earphone with mic for better quality. Avoid background noise if possible.

Santhosh Thottingal Honoured with Pradeepan Pambirikkunnu Memorial Award

Santhosh giving speech receiving the award. 

Santhosh Thottingal is honoured with Pradeepan Pambirikkunnu Memorial Mathrubhasha Award by Kaladi Sree Sankaracharya Sanskrit University. The award given for the contributions to the Malayalam language. Last year, Hussain KH were awarded for his contributions to language computing. Pradeepan Pampirikkunnu was a literary critic and Dalit activist who was the head of Malayalam Dept. of the Koyilandy campus of Sree Sankaracharya Sanskrit University.

Summit on Self-Reliant Publishing: Free Software for Publishing Industry

From the Summit on Self Reliant Publishing.

Kerala Media Academy conducted Summit on Self-Reliant Publishing to explore possibilities of use of free software in the field of publishing. The event was conducted on October 31st, prior to the announcement of Janayugom daily's free software adoption for their publishing process. Topics including Free Software in Publishing and News Flow, Malayalam Fonts & Unicode and Licensing Issues were discussed.

SMC's 12th anniversary in 2013 was celebrated with a two day seminar. We presented a concept note. Today, we are happy to see that concept note is being realised.

Calamares Malayalam Localization Completed

Calamares Malayalam

Distribution-independent system installer - Calamares is now completely localized to Malayalam. Subin Siby, Balasankar C, Amrithanath Manoharan, Nisari K K, Athul Raj, Abhijith Sheheer, Abraham Raji, H M, Vishnu P, Joice and Alfas contributed to this localization effort. .

SMC Signs AccessNow WhyID letter

WhyID is a digital privacy awareness and advocacy campaign by AccessNow. This campaign aims to raise questions against the use of private data of individuals by goverments and organizations. The Campaign can be found here.

SMC Supports GNOME Foundation's Fight Against a Patent Troll

Popular free software organization and developers of the GNOME desktop and applications - GNOME foundation was hit by a patent troll for developing the Shotwell image management application. SMC along with other free software organizations, pledge support to GNOME foundation for their fight against the same.


Cyber Malayalam: Language, Literature and Culture

Malayalam Dept. of Government College Malappuram counducted a two day work shop on Cyber Malayalam: Language, Literature and Technical challenges. Santhosh Thottingal inaugurated the event gave keynote speech.

Chilanka Celebrated Fifth Anniversary

Chilanka, An ornamental Malayalam font designed by Santhosh Thottingal celebrated it's fifth anneversay on 27th October.

In News

  • Mapathon Keralam: A crowd-sourced mapping initiative by Kerala State IT Mission inaugurated on 31st October by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Previously Grama panchayat authorities in collaboration with SMC were conducted two Mapping parties at Koorachundu Grama Panchayath - Koorachundu Mapping Party, lead by Jaisen Nedumpala and Ark Arjun. OSM Community Kerala also conducted mapping effort in collaboration with NSS and Vidya College of Engineering, Trissur lead by Manoj Karingamadathil, Naveen Francis and Jaisen Nedumpala. These programs were much useful in occassions such as floods and Nipah outbreak. The Mapathon Kerala is a similiar project which aims to cover all of the Kerala. Times of India news on the same can be read here.