- Not liking something is NOT THE SAME as hating it.
- With above point in mind, I do not like MS Word.
- With first point still in mind, I do not dislike and/or hate people who like and/or use MS Word.
- I LOVE LaTeX – nerds/geeks don’t feel like doing something (be it as simple a task as preparing a document) unless one actually compiles it (and gets error messages for mistakes); and whether you agree with me or not, I am one of them.
Leelavati Trust brought out the KannadaLaTeX, using which one can compose LaTeX documents in my native language, Kannada. It comes with a manual for using keyboard and can be used both in Windows and in Linux/UNIX environments. More information can be obtained by contacting Dr. C S Yogananda. There have been quite many attempts (by numerous people) to have typeset Kannada in LaTeX but in my personal opinion and from personal experience, nothing has been as easy as KannadaLaTeX – both to install (I have only done it on my linux box running Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 4.4 and other distributions) and use it.
How I got to know/learn about is an interesting story. Those were the days – way back in 2003-04 I suppose – when I used to write letters to my parents and I was constantly searching for a tool to typeset Kannada under linux (I had recently been initiated into linux and I was planning on making it The Operating System of choice). Many sleepless nights, weekends went past before I came across KannadaLaTeX on SourceForge. The man behind this project was Dr. C S Yogananda, and his name was quite familiar to me – through a lecture he gave in Bangalore Science Forum (in National College Basavanagudi – titled Prof. Harishchandra – Physicist Turned Mathematician on 27th July 2000) and through his work/writings in Resonance, published by the Indian Academy of Sciences.
It’s a well known and widely established fact that Equation Editor (used inside MS Office products) does not produce decent looking expressions, especially when they are mathematical in Nature. It’s also a well known and well established fact that the mathematical expressions produced by LaTeX are crisp, elegant and provide the biggest bang for the buck (linux is free, LaTeX is free and all one puts in is some time and effort). There are probably as many reasons to use LaTeX for typesetting Kannada as there are to compose just about any generic document. I have nothing against Baraha (I have used it extensively since its inception and still do sometimes) as a standalone product or as an inclusion in some word processors, but there are few things that match the beauty of LaTeX – especially when there is mathematics.
Andreas Reigber wrote a simple, elegant (command line) utility called TeX2Im and released it under GPL. I had been using this utility as a commandline tool for several years but mostly to convert mathematical expressions – to be used in presentations and such. I have also been using this KannadaLaTeX for a variety of different things for quite some time. Several months ago, I modified the TeX2Im to include KannadaLaTeX – and found personally the most satisfying usage of this hack: occasional typesetting of verses from the legendary work of DVG: Mankutimmana Kagga.
Following my recent attempt to convert LaTeX Expressions into Graphical Format and while reading a friend’s recent blog entry, I realized that a similar web-based utility might find some use. Converting Kannada into LaTeX-generated PNG file is pretty simple and straightforward: Just type-in (or paste) the LaTeX code in the form and copy/save the graphic (in PNG format with transparent background) to your computer. For guidelines for transliteration rules in KannadaLaTeX, you may use this PDF Document.
One can get started by accessing this page. I understand that this web-based utility might have some bugs. If you have issues/problems using it and/or need enhancements, please feel free to post your issue/concern/feature-request as a comment in the form below and either me or some other LaTeX user will respond.