Thailand software list

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In Thailand, SIPA is coordinating the effort with respect to software. This page gives a tentative list of software for the first machines for Thailand. This is fairly minimal since time and resources before first deliveries are limited. Over time, the set of supported software is expected to grow.

Contents

Toolkit

To conserve RAM and storage, applications should use the same toolkit. This should almost certainly be gtk2. There are a couple of other GNOME libraries that are also essential:

  • pango (for complex text handling)
  • cairo (2D graphics)
  • atk (for accessibility)
  • dbus (for IPC and desktop integration)

The whole suite of GNOME libraries is likely to be too much. Some other more minor ones that will probably be needed included:

  • gamin (for file and directory monitoring)
  • gnome-print (though we hope it will have been converted to Cairo)

We probably don't want (but may be stuck with these if applications have not been converted to dbus):

  • bonobo
  • orbit

More problematic are:

  • gconf (but Gnome has adopted this pretty widely)
  • gnome-vfs

These probably are needed but they currently depend on orbit. However, there are patches to older versions of both gconf and gnome-vfs to use dbus.

Desktop environment

The needed components include:

  • window manager
  • file manager
  • panel
  • desktop (ie something that allows icons on the desktop; some file managers provide this)
  • session manager

The panel will also need some applets, including at least the following:

  • Clock
  • Volume control
  • Battery monitor
  • Keyboard layout switcher
  • Network monitor

One possibility is to use the standard GNOME components, but many require lots of resources right now):

  • metacity (Need to verify its utility on a small screen, and whether Metacity's maintainers are willing to cooperate on the changes we'll need for making processes quiescent)
  • nautilus (is currently a memory pig; it won't be usable in its current state)
  • gnome-panel (is currently hated by everyone who has looked at its insides)
  • gnome-session-manager (was replaced by a shell script, and login was 6 seconds faster)

However, these have dependencies on orbit and bonobo and likely to consume excessive RAM.

Alternatives worth looking at:

Fonts

High-quality fonts are essential. There are some existing open-source TrueType fonts from NECTEC: while OK for printing, they leave a lot to be desired for on-screen display. SIPA has two efforts underway to create high-quality Thai fonts:

  • SIPA has hired a Thai designer to design Thai glyphs to go with Bitstream Vera
  • SIPA is working on licensing fonts equivalent to the two most popular Thai fonts used on Windows (Angsana and Cordia)

The difficult part in both cases is doing the hinting that is needed for high-quality on-screen display.

Applications

Web browser
Firefox or Epiphany. Epiphany uses the same layout engine as Firefox (Gecko), but has the advantage of better integration with the GNOME desktop.
E-book reader
Ideally a new program should be written for this.
Instant messaging
GAIM (Strip out uncommon protocols. Certainly jabber should be included, since this is an open standard protocol. Although GAIM supports IRC, it's probably a suboptimal interface. The popularity of other proprietary protocols is region-dependent: eg in Thailand MSN is completely dominant, and AIM is almost unused.)
Word processor
AbiWord. The current stable version of AbiWord (2.4.5) does not support Thai well. However, the CVS version has recently added support for using pango for text layout and so should work much better. Additionally, a Google Summer of Code student is doing a full interface review and re-design of AbiWord for the OLPC system and target users.
PDF/PostScript viewer
Evince
Image viewer
Gthumb. This also supports import from digital cameras and simple editing of photos.
Media player
Totem. There is a choice of two backends, gstreamer and xine; gstreamer is the future, but as of gstreamer 0.8, it works much less well than xine; gstreamer 0.10 is out now and may well be better.
Music player
Rhythmbox
Mail reader
Sylpheed-claws or Thunderbird? It is not clear whether this is needed. Non-technical end-users in Thailand are more accustomed to using webmail services such as Hotmail. Although mail-clients have significant technical advantages, especially with respect to offline use, they would require server infrastructure that may not be readily available.
Vector drawing program
InkScape. This has good support for open standards, using SVG as its default format. It has a nice simple interface which should be suitable for the secondary school level. The I18N support is also good.

Accessories

Archive manager
file-roller
Text editor
gedit
Calculator
gcalctool
Character map
gucharmap
Dictionary
gnome-dictionary
Terminal
gnome-terminal

System admin tools

We will need at least:

Backup tool
Allow backup of the user's data to USB pen-drive or (maybe) to the network.
Network configuration
NetworkManager looks good, although it supports traditional networking, rather than the mesh networking envisaged for the OLPC.
Package manager
Ubuntu's update-manager provides a simpler front-end to Synaptic.
Printer configuration
gnome-cups-manager
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