Computers and Tibetan script#

Overview#

All current computers and operating system support working with Tibetan script.

Computer type

Tibetan display

Input methods

Development

Support

Windows

+ + +

+1

+

+

Linux KDE

+ +

+ +

+ + +

+ +

Linux Gnome

+ +

+ +

+ + +

+ +

macOS

+ +

o2

+ +

- -

I want to work with Tibetan texts, what’s the best choice for a new computer?#

  • Working with Windows: Windows comes with a Tibetan font and a Tibetan input method according to the Chinese standard: A Wylie input method is only available via a third-party plug-ins that have last been updated around 2012 (TISE) and 2018 (Tib-Type). If the focus might be on computational dharma, then Windows is not as good of a choice, posing more obstacles to getting things working than Linux.
    Still, as of now Windows is a good choice for working with Tibetan texts.

  • Working with Linux KDE or Gnome: For those who are technically well versed, Linux is the best choice: fonts and input methods are available, and the possibilities, especially, if natural language processing or computational dharma are areas of interest, then Linux (KDE or Gnome is just a matter of taste) is an even better choice. Technical problems and bugs can be fixed, because of open source. The trade-off is the higher technical complexity.

  • Working with macOS: A good overall choice for most people is a macOS laptop: everything that’s needed to work with Tibetan is already part of the operating system macOS: Tibetan fonts, Sanskrit fonts, input methods for Tibetan (caveat[^1]) and Sanskrit diacritics are built in, and only some simple configuration steps are required to activate everything that’s needed. Things become problematic, if you ever encounter problems: Apple has basically no working support for bug tracking and improving situations for low-resource languages. Tibetan on Mac seems to be on slow decline.


1

Windows does not come with a Wylie input method. Support for Wylie hinges on third-party tools with uncertain long-term availability. Alternatively Windows’ own Tibetan keyboard, which is non-Wylie, can be used.

2

macOS Wylie support is currently quite bug ridden and is currently no more Wylie EWTS-compliant. See Working with macOS, keyboards for work-arounds and details.