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Hindawi on DataQuest

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  • nit17in
    Its proud moment for Abhishek and Shweta ji as Hindawi is now visible to wide range of Linux people. This is the change what Abhishek ji wanted for past few
    Message 1 of 1 , May 28, 2008
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      Its proud moment for Abhishek and Shweta ji as Hindawi is now visible
      to wide range of Linux people. This is the change what Abhishek ji
      wanted for past few years. Now, Hindawi is featured on Dataquest,
      which will open gates for DataQuest readers to know and involve them
      self into Hindawi. I spoke to Abhishek few days back after Hindawi
      featured on Dataquest, and its joyous moment for Hindawi lovers as
      website http://www.Hindawi.in is getting 200-300 hits per day, which
      will lead to more involvement of open source ppl.


      Programming for All
      Hindawi is a free open-source software that allows programming in a
      persons mother-tongue, overcoming the need to master English
      Stuti Das
      Saturday, May 10, 2008

      Even though India is cruising on the IT highway, there is still a
      large section of the Indian population on the other side of the
      technological divide, owing to socio-economic barriers. With a large
      chunk of the Indian public not well versed in Englishthe language of
      ITall efforts to bridge this digital divide have failed to yield the
      desired results.

      The Hindawi Programming System is possibly the first development
      platform that allows non-English medium literates to become software
      producers without the need to master English. What perhaps makes
      Hindawi unique is that while localized application interfaces allow
      people to become software consumers, the ability to design programs in
      ones mother tongue makes them software producers.

      An Arabic origin word, Hindawi is used to describe all regions,
      people, and languages across the Indus River. The term finds
      references in the works of Amir Khusro. The word was chosen as it was
      considered to be the most appropriate for denoting all the languages
      of India, says Abhishek Choudhary, an IT professional who, along with
      Sweta Choudhary, developed Hindawi.

      Talking about his innovative software, Choudhary says, Hindawi is
      essentially a free open-source software that allows programming for
      all types of technology in a persons mother-tongue ranging from
      beginners languages to super-computing, control-systems, and robotics.

      Hindawi has support for auto-translation of code and documents to
      allow global marketability of the deliverables produced using Hindawi
      tool-chain. Since the technology is mapped to the International
      Phonetic Alphabet, I expect the results to be replicated globally and
      am actively pursuing this target, he adds.

      I remember trying to get some small programs to work out in Hindi, as
      long back as 1995, as a member of the computer club at St Josephs
      College (school department), Darjeeling. We would mainly work in DOS
      then, and the method of representing Devanagri script in the text-mode
      without using extra hardware was developed by me in 1996. This is what
      we now call APCISR. Around those times, I had started visualizing a
      transliteration-based mechanism for achieving language-independent
      interfaces, he says.

      During his engineering degree project, he built a platform for
      experiments in autonomous and cognitive robotics and successfully
      prototyped it for one-fifth of the cost of the existing platforms. He
      soon realized the value this software could hold for Indian students
      and started creating a Hindi interface for the robot. This effort led
      to the creation of the open source projectsFreeBot Angel and Romenagri
      Transliterationby early 2004

      Romenagri Transliteration formed the basis of achieving human language
      independence in programming languages, and led to the development of
      the first version of Hindi systems programming languages. These were
      released on August 15, 2004 under the name Hindawi and were based on
      FreeDOS and DJGPP. Hindawi was then ported to Linux in 2006.

      Initially, Choudhary had to face hostile reactions when it came to the
      project. People initially, during the release of the first version in
      2004-05, would deny that such a thing was actually required and would
      refuse to believe it, he recalls.

      The other major problem was the non-availability of professions of
      Compiler Design Systems programming since these were niche areas.
      Moreover, the appreciation of the problem was not there. However, the
      non-cooperation from the peoples end more than made up for the
      assistance he received from the companies he worked for during the
      development of the Hindawi project.

      The Architecture
      Most compiler systems accept only 7-bit ASCII. Hindawi allows Hindi or
      Indic programming language source code to be processed by such
      compilers. There are very few compilers even today that support direct
      compilation of extended character sets or wide characters, as required
      by Unicode. Hindawi, therefore, allows non-English programming
      languages to be constructed for all the existing computing platforms
      including resource constrained embedded systems.

      Hindawi allows the translation of source code and documentation into
      English and hence allows global marketability of deliverables
      (executable programs) produced using Hindawi tool-chain. It includes
      the APCISR, which is a mechanism for displaying variable width Indic
      scripts of the Brahmi family on fixed width text mode consoles. If one
      looks at todays Indic platforms, they can display Indic once the
      graphics mode has been started, say X-windows.

      True localization, however, requires Indic display at all levels of
      functionality such as at the BIOS levels; especially for stuff such as
      device drivers and systems programs, it is irrelevant whether the code
      was written in Indic or traditional programming languages. In such
      cases, it becomes imperative to have human language independence.

      Overall, Hindawi is the first such successful effort and has provided
      a proof of the concept of feasibility and validity of such systems.
      The programming languages landscape of the future will be free of
      human language-based biases. Hindawi has also proven the possible
      coexistence of traditional and non-orthodox programming platforms on
      the same system.

      The word, Hindawi, was chosen as it was considered to be the most
      appropriate for denoting all the languages of India

      Abhishek Choudhary, an IT professional who, along with Sweta
      Choudhary, developed Hindawi

      A method has also been developed for smart rendering of North Indian
      scripts in text-mode without the need for any extra hardware
      components. The complete system, including the design of the Indian
      vernacular understanding robot, has been made open-source with the
      objective of meeting the financial objectives through support
      services. This shall allow low procurement costs for Indian vernacular
      development systems, and make the maintenance of the programming
      system a community effort. This would also allow the system to be used
      for pedagogical purposes.

      Social Implications
      Hindawi offers means of sociological movements in terms of unleashing
      untapped intellectual potentials from the backward areas of developing
      nations. A rough estimate of 600,000 villages in India implies 600,000
      cottage industry-level software production houses, which could be
      translated into the creation of 6 mn ICT jobs.

      On the financial front, Hindawi will be sustained through support
      services and licensing of non-GPL parts for commercial development.
      The demonstrations can be downloaded from the authors website while
      CDs of the complete system is made available on request at a marginal
      cost inclusive of the cost of material and posting only.

      Even as the complete system, along with the design of the
      Hindawi-based intelligent robot, has been made open-source in order to
      tap into the vast vernacular literate manpower potential in ICT. The
      copyright for Hindawi has been retained by the authors organization,
      in conformance with GNU General Public License V2, in parts that
      utilize GPL software.

      Hindawi is essentially an effort toward cultural preservation. With
      the porting of Hindawi to the about-to-be-extinct languages such as
      Sharada, a sense of self-revival may be instilled in the original
      speakers of these languages.

      The Hindawi System is a part of Choudharys 20:20 vision, of making IT
      a cottage industry. And Hindawi today is a vibrant FLOSS community
      with highly active participation in India.

      Stuti Das
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