At long last, it's Sinhala time!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/11/11 07:01 -05:00, original URI:


Click here to download the Sinhala Windows 7 LIP via the Download Center.

Please note that the Sinhala  Windows 7 LIP can only be installed on a system that runs an English client version of Windows 7. It is available to download for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

The Sinhala Windows 7 LIP is produced as part of the Local Language Program sponsored by Public Sector.



19 million



Sinhala is spoken by more than 17 million people in Sri Lanka where it is also one of the two official languages (Tamil being the other one).



Sinhala is written in its own script which resembles those of south Indian Dravidian scripts due to the rounded shape of its characters.

Click here for more information on the Sinhala language and here for more information on the Sinhala script.


The Microsoft Sinhala keyboard story is a story that any sane person would go 1000 miles out of their way to avoid having to discuss, but it seems ridiculous to me to say nothing about it.

Like pretty much all of the languages of South Asia, the inbox input story on Windows is not great, and it was Sinhala in particular that made me realize a sad truth: that any time someone inside Microsoft tells someone else inside Microsoft that rather than jumping in to support something that "we need to consider the entire end-to-end scenario" what they are really saying is "we aren't going to fix it this version. Try again next time, and for now go away." Given the "end-to-end" premise this makes sense, since in the middle of a product cycle it is too late to devote enough planning resources to get a huge issue investigated and addressed.

The flaw in the logic is that the "end-to-end" solution (or the keyboard specific variation, where it was suggested that "we must consider the entire input stack in a more holistic way") -- is not truly needed. It really isn't here, since we already have a Text Services Framework. All that is needed is a plug-in. Think of it this way: someone came up with the "end-to-end" humvee and now all that we need is put a hubcap on it. Spending too much time talking about "end-to-end" makes one sound like a "rear end".

Thankfully, there are third party solutions in the meantime that do solve the problem, using the Sinhala National standard. Some even use Microsoft's own Text Services Framework, which is why I am grateful for a rich third party developer ecosystem. It helps keep customers unblocked while we take our time doing the right thing.

I will continue to keep trying to solve this particular problem and there are others who are trying to do the same. We aren't really as bad as the Sinhala input story makes us look.

I'm sorry.

But the Sinhala LIP itself is still pretty cool. :-)


John Cowan on 11 Nov 2010 2:09 PM:

Well, now I know where the stress goes on the word "Sinhala".  Thanks.

Rick Saling on 11 Nov 2010 7:28 PM:

Another language that has no subclauses is Navajo: they use the particle "go" to string clauses together and can nest them fairly deeply.

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