Over the years of my open-source development I have moved towards using more cloud computers for various reasons of convenience. However getting a cloud computer from one of the major providers like AWS, Azure etc. requires a lot of setup time to bring it to a usable state for Tamil software development.
Primarily for Tamil software development on Windows 10 (or later) is slightly more easier, compared to Linux/Unix machines, because basic Unicode font and rendering support works out of the box. However in Linux cloud-machines X-windows, Window manager, and desktop support is not common – let alone Tamil support!
So everytime to setup a cloud instance I had to spend a few hours tracking down the packages, installing the dependencies, running host of shell commands to ensure its all lined up to see Tamil text rendered correctly on the remote-screen. This would typically take away time I spend building binary packages for project Ezhil.
Knowing vaguely you can make this system administration and server conf tasks simplified using shell-scripts or tools like Fabric, I researched them earlier; then I asked in our Tamil software community from my Twitter account what could be the solution:
I got recommendations to use Ansible and build a Docker image for the server of interest from Shrinivasan (aside: Congratulations to Shrinivasan named as 2016 Tamil Computing award winner for his work on Tamil and Indian-language projects at WikiMedia foundation and Wikipedia!)
Now I figured my familiarity in bringing up machines using Python or shell-scripting could be useful in getting me off the ground right away – while I could find ways to get expertise on Docker or Ansible to help me out. So I put together all the scripts I used for bringing up Fedora/24 and Ubuntu/16 machines for Ezhil development.
The result is ‘Padai’ project – currently two nice scripts to get you from basic IaaS server to a working Tamil script rendering computer for Ezhil development in 10-minutes for both Fedora and Ubuntu. Check it out here.
Looking forward for your support and sending us your pull-requests.