When I was in junior year of college in 1998-99, I worked on a project at the Indian Institute of Information Technology in Hyderabad, India under Dr Rajeev Sangal and Dr Vineet Chaitanya. My programming partner, Naoshad Mehta, and I collaborated on adding support for Devanagari script in X under Linux through ‘rxvt’. We called the modified version ‘rxvt-idev’. The results were so well received, that Naoshad and I received a Department of Electronics, Govt. of India grant to continue the work and add Indian script I/O capability to X in general.
We did succeed in doing that over the period of next year and we presented our results at various conferences in southern India (since we were based out of Regional Engineering College, Trichy – now called National Institute of Technology, Trichy). After finishing college, both Naoshad and I fell out of the loop, but as it turns out, our work was extended by various groups around the country and has led to the current state of excellent support for Indian scripts on Linux.
For posterity’s sake, I’m posting a scanned version of our early article on the technology. I found it a few months ago in some documents I was cleaning up from my office. I don’t know how much of it is relevant any longer, but it certainly illuminates the history of Indian language GUI. Attached is the PDF document. Graphical Interface Extensions for Indian Scripts (Mehta, Roy 1999)