March 28, 2002

Free Standards Group, Tokyo University of Foreign Study launch Asian Scripts Technology & Infrastruc

Leslie Proctor writes: Asian Scripts Technology & Infrastructure (ASTI) will enable advanced localization capabilities for almost half the world's population

The Free Standards Group's Linux Internationalization Initiative (Li18nux) today announced the launch of the Asian Scripts Technology & Infrastructure (ASTI) project. ASTI, a joint project with the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Study (ILCAA) and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) will enable greater support and advanced functionality for Indic and Asian written languages.

ASTI will enable greater range of Asian and Indic scripts support in open source platforms and applications. One of the first tasks this year will be to create better support for Hindi, the fifth most common language in the world, enabling Web browser capabilities, Devernagari script and flexible input methods. ASTI plans to expand beyond Hindi in early 2003.

"Common localization standards and capabilities for the more than 6,500 languages spoken worldwide has remained an issue for computer developers and users worldwide," Hideki Hiura, co-chair of the Li18nux project said. "Li18nux and ASTI address these issues, bringing advanced localization capabilities for Linux-based software."

ASTI is supported by the Center of Excellence (COE) program of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan, in cooperation with the Grammatological Informatics Based on Corpora of Asian Scripts (GICAS).

"This initiative will have broad implications in global enterprise, government, education and emerging markets," said Scott McNeil, executive director of the Free Standards Group. "Through standardization and enhanced capabilities of multi-language support, Linux will broaden its user base, bringing the advantages of open source software to millions of people worldwide."

ASTI will provide tools and abilities that will be compliant to Linux Internationalization Initiative (Li18nux) standards, bringing true portability of language to Linux. Li18nux 1.0, which was released earlier this year, provides a standard for common localization issues such as time, currency, language, etc.

"This is an epoch-making leap in multilingual computing," said Professor Kazuhiko Machida, ASTI project leader for ILCAA. "ASTI will bring us to the next stage of complex text language processing."

About the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ICLAA)
ILCAA is a world leading research institute for South Asian and South-East Asian study for language and culture, powering language and cultural application study into the information technology via its Information Research Center. Information on ICLAA is available at http://www.aa.tufs.ac.jp/index_e.html.

About GICAS
The study led by Pari Bhaskararao, professor, ILCAA, nominated as a part of COE porogram of MEXT. Information on GICAS is available at www.gicas.jp/gicastest.html.

About the Free Standards Group
Supported by industry leaders, the Free Standards Group is an independent, vendor-neutral, non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the use and acceptance of open source technologies through the development, application and promotion of standards. Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., the Free Standards Group fulfills a critical need in the open source development community to have common behavioral specifications, tools and APIs, making development across Linux distributions easier. More information on the Free Standards Group is available at www.freestandards.org.

About the Linux Internationalization Initiative (Li18nux)
Li18nux is an internationalization guide for platform and applications developers, allowing Linux and Linux-based programs to reach greater localization capabilities and obtain global reach. Li18nux was created to answer the critical need to have a common foundation for language globalization and includes vital tools needed by Linux distributions and applications in their globalization efforts. Information on Li18nux is available through the Free Standards Group web site, www.freestandards.org.

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