Please note that the following information is not applicable to the N900.

This guide covers setting up Hebrew support in Maemo. These instructions assume root access.



  • Copying some Culmus fonts (Nachlieli, David, etc.) or Windows fonts with Hebrew (Arial, Tahoma, etc.) to /home/user/.fonts is useful in some applications.
  • Some applications' interface elements use Nokia fonts, so they need to be replaced with fonts that include Hebrew glyphs. Unfortunately, the fonts Nokia use are not free, so I can't distribute the Hebrew including version. To generate these fonts:
    • Copy the files nosnr.ttf, nosnb.ttf, and nscnr.ttf from /usr/share/fonts/nokia on the device to a PC.
    • Make sure you have FontForge installed.
    • Copy Nachlieli Culmus fonts (all files beginning with Nach) from where they are installed in your system to the same directory as the Nokia files.
    • Download fontmerge and run it in the same directory. to do that run:
fontforge -lang=ff -script fontmerge
    • Copy the generated nosnb-h.ttf, nosnr-h.ttf, and nscnr-h.ttf to /usr/share/fonts/nokia on the device, and remove the -h from the name, in order to overwrite the original fonts.
    • Other fonts that might need to be fixed similarly are NtmRR4nh.ttf, NcrRR4nh.ttf, and SwaRR4nh.ttf from /usr/share/fonts. This can be done with the fontmerge script. It seems that SwaRR4nh.ttf is the font used for the keyboard keys, so you must do this if you want to use Hebrew keyboard.
  • After installing or changing fonts, you should run fc-cache -f. A reboot might be needed for some applications or parts of the GUI to use the new fonts.

Virtual keyboard

Copy the file he_IL.vkb to /usr/share/keyboards. Then he_IL is added to the list of available languages for the keyboard.

iconv modules

These modules are necessary for some applications (FBreader, Minimo). Download gconv.tar.gz to the device, and run (as root):

tar xzf gconv.tar.gz -C /usr/local
iconvconfig /usr/local/gconv


Specific applications

  • Included Opera has no BiDi support, but MicroB (Mozilla based browser) does support BiDi.
  • Minimo works (both display and input), as long as gconv modules are installed.
  • Claws appears to display Hebrew fine, as long as the encoding is correctly identified in the mail itself.
  • FBReader: patch for rudimentary BiDi support. You can install regular packages of FBreader 0.8.1, and use this binary to replace /usr/bin/FBReader on the device.
  • links-2 (graphics) with some BiDi support is available (just run this binary from XTerm) Patch (relative to 2.1pre23).
  • MaemoTeX - this adds Hebrew (and ams) support to MaemoTeX 0.1.6. Just untar it from root directory, and run mktexlsr. Leafnode appears to have no problems editing ISO-8859-8 files.