Monday, February 02, 2009

Installing Hebrew in Linpus on Acer Aspire One

I recently bought myself an Acer aspireOne netbook computer. It is cheap and lightweight, which were my two main requirements. And, just for something different (and to save a small amount of money) I decided to get the linux linpus version. Linux has both advantages and disadvantages over windows, which I won't go into right now. Since I do a lot of work in Hebrew it was very important for me to be able to type in Hebrew. Unfortunately this took a lot of time. On the other hand, now that I've managed to do it (thanks to all the wonderful websites out there who are only too happy to help newbie linux people) it is so exciting. I whooped with you! I want to share it with you as well (in case you also decide to go the linux route).

I'm a complete novice at this, and take no responsibility for anything if it goes wrong. Make backups and say tehillim before you start. Also, even though I think this is what I did to get it to work, please leave comments if I've left out a stage, or said something dangerous.

(It is really not hard, believe me – if I could do it...)

There are two separate things that need doing – you will need to change the keyboard layout, and also to install the Hebrew pack for open office.

Let's deal with the keyboard first (as this is what took me the most time)

First you need to download the keymap for Hebrew. I found that on this site:

now you need the keymap for Hebrew for linux. So right click on this link and save it (somewhere)

Hopefully you remember where you saved it – if not open the downloads folder in firefox and right click on and click on “open in containing folder” which will show you where it is (look at the address bar on the top of the page)

now open your terminal window by going to files -> my documents and then clicking the file menu and selecting terminal (there are other shortcuts to do that – if you know them, fine, if not you'll learn).

To install the keymaps you have to navigate to where you saved the file (inside the terminal window). You do that by typing cd [directory]. For example, if you saved it in 'downloads' you would type cd Downloads.

Then type the following line

cp -v /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/il

now change back to the main directory by typing cd

then type sudo mousepad /etc/X11/xorg.conf

you will see a section entitled “input device”
In the line Option "XkbLayout" you will see some letters inside “” separated by commas (or perhaps only two letters with no commas). You want to add 'il' to the list (separated by a comma but no space).

Now save that file and restart your computer. Hopefully on the bottom where you have the language in addition to your EN or UK or whatever language you will also have a flag of Israel. You can switch between languages by either clicking on that icon, or using shift+alt.

The next part is to install the Hebrew addons for Open Office. But I'm too tired now, so that will have to wait for another post.

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