How to Change the XO Language to Vietnamese

Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2016

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Flag of United States  , New Hampshire
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Vietnamese Free Software Translation Team has done some terrific work translating the Sugar operating system that the XO runs on into the Vietnamese language. Special thanks go to Clytie and to Sayamindu who are helping me to figure out how to run an XO in the Vietnamese language.
1. Change the Language on the XO. From the Control Panel, click language, select Vietnamese, and restart the XO. The names of a few of the Activities will now appear in Vietnamese.  Better yet, connect to the Internet and open the Browser. The Library is still in English. I typed in Gmail and the search results were still in English. But when I clicked on the Gmail link, the sign in page showed up entirely in Vietnamese! Some web pages will still be  English, but some will be entirely in Vietnamese! 

2. Change the Keyboard to Vietnamese. These instructions come from Clytie in Australia! The Vietnamese language team is still working to perfect the Vietnamese keyboard for the XO. It is not perfect yet. With feedback from the new Vietnamese users, the VFST are working hard to fix the bugs.
“We use XKB on the XO-1s which supports Vietnamese input. However, there might be a few hoops to jump through in order to enable the layout.1. The easiest way to do this would be start up Terminal and issue the command:
setxkbmap -layout vn
To switch back to the normal US layout (if required), the command would be:
setxkbmap -layout us -variant olpc2. The other option would be edit /etc/sysconfig/keyboard in the laptops and set the LAYOUT to vn and the VARIANT to basic.
Newer versions of Sugar support setting the keyboard layout from the
control panel (via a GUI), but OLPC does not ship that yet.”You can use either of those methods. The most common Vietnamese keyboard layouts use number keys to provide extra vowels and add accents. For example, on my favourite Mac layout:
1 = ă
2 =
3 =
4 =
[ = ư
] = ơ
0 = đ
= = ₫ (currency symbol)Added accents5 = dấu huyền (grave accent)
6 = dấu hỏi (hook above)
7 = dấu ng (tilde)
8 = dấu sắc (acute accent)
9 = dấu nặng (dot under)Depending on the layout, you press the added-accent number key _before_ or _after_ the base vowel. If your layout doesn’t match mine above, just keep testing keys until you find the Vietnamese letters.

For background:Vietnamese keyboard
layouts use "dead" keys (pressed before or after the vowel) to add
accents to vowels: the standard vowels, including "y", and six vowels
already bearing accents. 12 base vowels 6 accent states means
Vietnamese has 72 vowels. To use a Vietnamese keyboard layout (including
Unicode hex refs):
1 = ă (0xC483)2 =
(0xC3A2)3 = (0xC3AA)4 = (0xC3B4)5
= added grave accent (dấu huyền)6 = added hook above (dấu
hỏi)7 = added tilde above (dấu ng)8 = added acute
accent (dấu sắc)9 = added dot under (dấu nặng)10 =
đ (0xE282AB)) = Đ (0xC490)= = ₫ (0xE282AB)[
= ư (0xC6B0)] = ơ (0xC6A1)

3.  Installing the Vietnamese Language Package: This does not work as of today's date.  I will publish these notes so as not to lose them, Hopefully, we can figure out what is wrong and update this with the working instructions very soon.

There is a Vietnamese Language Pack that allows the XO to be run mostly in Vietnamese. Sayamindu provides the installation instructions that follow.
If you are using XO 1 machines, use the following language pack:
(This isn't an active link in the travelpod blog format. Please copy and paste it into your browser or type the url exactly as it appears here.) 
1. Download the pack onto a Mac or PC.
2. Copy the file to a USB Stick.3. Plug the USB stick into the XO.
Now run the language pack as follows:

Open Terminal Activity and in it execute the command:
ls /media
You will see a list of the directories in /media - one would the USBdrive. Execute the command
cd /media/<USB Drive>
(replace <USB Drive> with the name that you found in the previous
Execute the command 'ls' and you will see the language pack filename getting printed
Execute the command
su -c "sh <langpack_name>"
(replace <langpack_name> with the name of the langpack file that
you got in the previous step)

The translations will now get installed.

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