by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/02/03 07:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2010/02/03/9957378.aspx
Hey Scott Hanselman, KNOCK KNOCK! Are you there?
I just saw the coolest mail in my inbox yesterday.
The Last Windows Vista Interface Pack is Live: Amharic!
Now this is truly awesome, and makes me quite happy. :-)
(Actually, Scott found it yesterday too, so this isn't really news for him. But I doubt he'll mind the introduction.)
You can download this last Vista Language Interface Pack right here....
Let me add a little background information about Amharic, for all of those of you who are not Scott Hanselman:
Number of speakers:
~15 million first language speakers;
~25 million speakers total
Name in the language itself:
Amharic is the official working language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and is used nationwide. It has been the working language of government, the military, and of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church throughout medieval and modern times. Outside Ethiopia, Amharic is the language of some 2.7 million emigrants.
Fun and Notable Facts:
- Many Rastafarians learn Amharic as a second language because they consider it to be a “sacred” language. Various reggae musicians including Lincoln Thompson and Misty-in-Roots have written songs in Amharic, thus bringing the sound of this language to a wider audience.
- There is a growing body of literature in Amharic in many genres, including government records, educational books, religious material, novels, poetry, technical manuals, etc. The most famous Amharic novel is Fiqir Iske Meqabir (transliterated various ways) by Haddis Alemayehu (1909-2003), translated into English by Sisay Ayenew as Love unto Crypt.
Amharic is a Semitic language and hence part of the Afro-Asiatic language family. After Arabic it is the second most widely spoken Semitic language in the world.
Amharic is written in the Ge’ez script, Ge’ez being the liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church up to this day.
Example of the script:
የሚለውን አዝራር በመጫን የመውረድ ተግባሩን ማስጀመር ይቻላል። ይህንም ካልፈለጉ ከዝርዝሩ ሌላ ቋንቋ መረጠው ይህን አዝራር ይጫኑ
A little more info about Vista Language Interface Packs:
Windows Vista LIP is also available in these previously released languages. The Amharic Windows Vista LIP is the last Vista LIP the LIP team has released.
And for a little more about Amharic enabling in Vista?
You can see my We weren't Vista heroes, but I think we were kinda heroic, which talks about the extreme efforts we made to get the locale added to Vista (had this not happened, the LIP would have been impossible given the known limitations related to UI languages.
Including ones only fixed in Windows 7 as I mentioned briefly in Culture: don't have none, won't be none! the other day.
When I think about how if not for the work Ning and I did the project would have been stopped before it even started and no one would have had the opportunity to see the great work that Manuela and the whole team accomplished here.... I really only mention that here because it would have really been awful to be blocking the work so I am very glad we didn't do that!
Now I know that some of the limitations of the Amharic input method made typing slower (lack of shift state knowledge requiring the constant use of the candidate list could try the patience of the most serene person one could imagine!) and I hope this didn't cause too many problems for the project. I know that the efforts on the part of the people involved with the project were heroic in the more impressive sense: lots of honest, hard work and effort under circumstances not always optimized for the tasks at hand.
Now of course one of Scott's tweets to me later in the evening was
shanselman @michkap Is there an Amharic LIP for Win7?
But that is not something that anyone is talking about at the moment so there is nothing I can really say either, right now.
For now? I am so happy for the two machines that dual boot into Vista, as I have a place I can install this LIP and admire this language that fascinated me even before I used it in that Rhymes with Amharic series about font embedding or when I wrote about the number system in Why that is positively Ethiopic! back in 2005.
I imagine there will be some interest in the usage, so I would encourage the people interested in Amharic to boot up that Vista partition and take a look, give some feedback. Genuine interest in a product is of course just one factor to consider but it can be an important one (this is true about just about anything Microsoft does but I imagine would apply here!)....
# John Cowan on 3 Feb 2010 10:58 AM:
It's not clear to me if by "last" you mean "last, for good and all" or just "latest". The sentence "The Amharic Windows Vista LIP is the last Vista LIP the LIP team has released" sounds distinctly weird; I'd expect either "last ... will release" or "latest ... has released".
Also, you need to embiggen the Amharic text sample: at the current size it's nearly illegible.
# Michael S. Kaplan on 3 Feb 2010 12:13 PM:
I mean last, for good and all. There are no more Vista LIP samples, this is the last one that will be released.
# Michael S. Kaplan on 3 Feb 2010 12:14 PM:
For the script sample, it looks okay here. Maybe you need a browser/OS upgrade? :-)
# Richard on 4 Feb 2010 3:02 AM:
> shanselman @michkap Is there an Amharic LIP for Win7?
> But that is not something that anyone is talking about at the moment so there is nothing I can really say either, right now.
According to Technet  an Amharic LIP is available for Windows 7.
# Michael S. Kaplan on 4 Feb 2010 7:18 AM:
Note the "caution" on that page:
"Not all LIPs are currently available for Windows 7. For information about the latest available LIPs, see the Local Language Program."
It isn't there yet. Though clearly they are saying more than I thought we were yet! :-)
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