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Download Tamil Fonts and Conversion Tool Free
Standardised (TAM/TAB) bilingual Tamil fonts for free download!
Government of Tamil Nadu standardised the Tamil font storage format by inaugurating the TAM/TAB standard on the 13th June 1999. TamilNet99 keyboard layout also came into being at this time.

From 1999 onwards, no standardised freeware fonts have been made available from any source, including Tamil Virtual University, Kanithamzh Sangam or Government.

As a result, the Government Departments have been procuring Vanavil Tamil Font software at an exorbitant cost. Vanavil Software is a proprietary software produced and marketed by one individual company.

Similarly, the online edition of Tamil Newspapers and magazines have been using their own fonts and keyboard layout. This had hampered the spread of Tamil language use on the net and also in the day to day use of computers. This is in contrast to the situation prevailing in other countries where they have standardised one storage format for their language. This had enabled them to convert the entire desktop to speak their native language, whether it is windows or linux operating system.

Another issue that had caused concern is that the proprietary Vanavil fonts do not work under linux environment. Thus, the Tamil people, including the Government departments were facing a double jeopardy viz., buy the Tamil fonts for Windows OS at an exorbitant cost and buy the Windows operating system to run it!

This had put Tamil language interface out of the reach of the common man. So, the common citizen has been using a variety of non standardised Tamil fonts which are available free on the Net.

For the database users, there was no standardised bilingual font (Tamil/English) either in the proprietary domain or free ware domain.

In the above circumstances, ELCOT decided to free the Tamil fonts from a single vendor so that the Government, Press, home users, Tamil Scholars and international users could get free access to high quality standardised Tamil fonts for desktop use as well as database use (bilingual). ELCOT procured a set of beautiful standardised Tamil fonts which can work under Linux and windows environments and hosted them for free download.

ELCOT also made available a bilingual font interface for database usage free.

The following are the objectives of ELCOT's initiative:
  • Standardise a set of Tamil fonts for free use by Government, press, publishers and citizens alike. Both the Government and private users should have free access to the Tamil font and conversion utilities for their home and office use.
  • Press, News papers and magazine publishers should be able to freely use the Government standardised fonts without any restrictions.
  • Volunteers and open source advocates should be enabled to freely distribute these fonts and conversion utilities among net and desktop users without any restrictions.
  • Educational institutions, research scholars and software companies should be encouraged to use the freeware standardised Tamil fonts to create contents and software in Tamil.
  • To encourage the hardware vendors to preload these fonts and conversion utilities while selling computers/notebook computers.

In short, there should be a huge impetus for Tamil language on on the desktop and internet.

Through a tender process, ELCOT procured the TAM/TAB standardised Tamil fronts from Lastech Systems Private Limited (www.lastech.com), which is a member of the Tamil Software Consortium. ELCOT acquired full rights over the fonts and conversion tools thus enabling hosting of the fonts and utilities for free download. ELCOT spent a sum of Rs.3,90,000 towards this purchase and related services. These fonts have been tested for TAM, TAB and UNICODE storage formats and hence they satisfy the Government prescribed TamilNet standards. Along with the fonts, ELCOT also procured conversion tools to convert the existing documents created using Vanavil fonts into TAM / TAB format and vice versa. All these tools have been tested for Windows and Linux Operating Systems compatibility. Vanavil works only on Windows platform whereas the ELCOT procured fonts have been fully tested under Linux and Windows environment. (tested for Suse Linux Enterprise edition and Redhat Enterprise edition).

The specialty of ELCOT procured fonts is that they do not require any special keyboard driver to operate the typical computer keyboard layout. Only for the Remington keyboard layout, one has to enable a software driver to have the exact Remington keyboard layout.

On 27th September 2007, a 34 member team from ELCOT descended on the Secretariat to install these freeware standardised Tamil fonts in all the desktop PCs of various departments in the Secretariat. The team could install these fonts and conversion tools in 423 PCs on the first day itself. Similar work is planned for all the Government installations across the State of Tamil Nadu.

We are extremely thankful to Mr.Tulukkanam, the proprietor of Lastech systems private limited (www.lastech.com) for the lovely Tamil fonts, keyboard drivers and their support for R & D to make the conversion utilities compatible for linux OS.

In the days to come we intend to host sample code for using the bilingual fonts in typical database related applications.

These fonts can be used freely and shared freely without any copy right restrictions for commercial and non commercial use.

Managing Director, ELCOT

md@elcot.in
View:
Letter from MD, ELCOT to Government seeking to declare ELCOT's fonts as the standardised fonts for government use.

Letter received from Dr.M.Anandakrishnan, Chairman, Taskforce, Tamil 16 bit encoding system dated 8th August 2007 recommending appointment of a committee before accepting ELCOT's standardised Tamil fonts.

Letter from MD, ELCOT dated 8th September 2007, seeking to accept ELCOT's fonts without any further delay.