The International Desktop

08Feb07

One of the widely-cited myths of Open Source is that it does not foster innovation. I am glad to report that that is not true and I am backing my statement up with the story of “Sonnet”.

Sonnet will provide different language capabilities to the next version of KDE, one of the most popular Desktop Environments for Linux. Amongst other things, it provides spell and grammer checking for all KDE apps that want to use it. But it goes one step further: Sonnet will automatically recognise the language you are writing in and use the correct dictionary! That may not sound exiting now, but its potential use is explained very well in this article.

I would like to make a few more suggestions:

  • Decide which email footer to use depending on the language of the message body. That would make life a lot easier for people with international contacts. Think about country names (Germany is Deutschland in German) or job titles (a French CEO is called PDG) in different languages. What if you could have your footer in the language of the recipient?
  • I think KDE is lacking a system-wide tool for predefined text blocks. You know, type CTRL-ALT-M and “This is a great text block” is inserted in whatever app you happen to be. Something like TypeIt4Me for the Mac. Provide it through Sonnet and you could get something even larger: Language dependent textblocks. Just press your defined keys and you get the right ending for the letter – in whatever language. I would love that!

Can you think of anything else? Leave a comment or share it with Sonnet’s programmer.

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