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


Virtual keyboard

N900 Virtual Keyboard

Install Ukeyboard from the application manager. Then select Hebrew as second language in the text input applet in the control panel.

Previous Versions

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

Hardware keyboard

A Keyboard Solution For The N900

Download the file here, copy it to /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/nokia_vndr/rx-51 and reboot. You should now be able to switch between languages by using the FN + vol+/vol- keys.

In addition, the FN+arrows keys now enable Page Up/Down, Home and End, FN+Backspace is tab and FN+Enter is escape.

iconv modules

Those modules are necessary for applications that use the character encoding support of the C library. The diablo package works on the N900. Download from here and install (manually, or using red pill mode in the application manager).

Fonts for previous devices

  • 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.


Specific applications running on previous Maemo devices

  • 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.