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Hebrew support in Debian

This is an attempt to make Hebrew more usable for new users of Debian, to help make Debian the preferred distribution for Hebrew users and to ease the conversion of Hebrew speaking users into Debian GNU/Linux.

Currently Debian has quite a few packages that help Hebrew users, but a new user needs to install them himself. The best thing would be that if a user chose Hebrew in his installation he'll get the Hebrew related packages automatically on installation. For those users who want Hebrew support but not Hebrew language a solution should come as well, but since they will be more advanced users this option is not as critical.

An alioth project (debian-hebrew) as been created to make the communication and discussion of these topics easier.

The project web site is in http://debian-hebrew.alioth.debian.org.

Any contribution will be appreciated. You can join the mailing list to be updated at http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/debian-hebrew-common

Applications for Hebrew


  • hspell - Hebrew spell checker and morphological analyzer
  • aspell-he - Hebrew dictionary for aspell
  • myspell-he - Hebrew dictionary for myspell
  • bidiv - ?BiDi viewer - command-line tool displaying logical Hebrew/Arabic

  • libhdate1 - Hebrew calendar utilities (hdate/hcal).
  • geresh - A simple multilingual text editor with utf-8 & bidi support

  • mlterm - ?MultiLingual ?TERMinal

  • hocr - Hebrew OCR software.
  • paps - UTF-8 to ?PostScript converter using Pango.

Graphical desktop:

  • culmus - Type1 Hebrew Fonts for X11
  • ttf-freefont - Freefont Serif, Sans and Mono Truetype fonts
  • hspell-gui - a graphical front-end to the hspell Hebrew spell checker and a GNOME panel applet.
  • hdate-applet - a Gnome panel applet that show the hebrew date and calendar and the ghcal desktop Hebrew calendar.
  • hocr-gtk - Hebrew OCR frontend for GNOME
  • katoob - A Gtk2 light weight multilingual ?BiDi aware text editor.

  • mozilla-firefox-locale-he-il - Mozilla Firefox Hebrew language/region package
  • mozilla-firefox-theme-rtlclassic - right-to-left theme for Mozilla Firefox
  • openoffice.org-l10n-he - Hebrew language package for OpenOffice.org


  • kde-i18n-he - Hebrew (he) internationalized (i18n) files for KDE
  • koffice-i18n-he - Hebrew (he) translations for ?KOffice

  • kkbswitch - keyboard layout switcher/indicator for ?KDE3

Do we need these?

  • il-net-radio radio station selection script

  • centericq-fribidi - A text-mode multi-protocol instant messenger client (Hebrew)
  • emacs-intl-fonts - Fonts to allow multi-lingual ?PostScript printing from Emacs

  • ivritex - Hebrew Package for the babel system and ?LaTeX2e

  • xfonts-efont-unicode - efont Unicode fonts for X which cover various scripts

  • xfonts-efont-unicode-ib - efont Unicode fonts for X (italic and bold)

  • xfonts-intl-european - International fonts for X -- European
  • l2swim - Kinneret documentation package.
  • bidiui - extensions which provide user interface for direction control and use of direction-related unicode features for the Mozilla suite.

  • hebrew_kbd - fix the problem of english shortcuts under hebrew layout. maybe we should buils a script/package to fix this automatically?

  • texlive-lang-hebrew - Hebrew support for texlive
  • texlive-xetex - Support for any TrueType font (including many Hebrew fonts) for TeX

Hebrew user environment

  • Time zone (Asia/Jerusalem):
    • preseed and reconfigure tzconfig package.
  • Create a Hebrew locale (he_IL.UTF-8):
    • preseed and reconfigure locales package.
  • Set default system Locale (he_IL.UTF-8):
    • preseed and reconfigure locales package.
  • Hebrew X keyboard (us, il.lyx):
    • preseed and reconfigure xserver-xorg package.
      • si1452 is obsolete.



Install CD

A good idea would be to create a sarge Hebrew Debian install CD, this will have in a single CD everything that a user needs for a basic Hebrew Debian install.

You can get debian-hebrew 1.0 rc2 install CD from: http://mirror.iglu.org.il/pub/debian-hebrew/

Live CD

1. Using debian's live-helper package from the DebianLive project.

2. A LiveCD is also possible by using iBuild, this is a Morphix based LiveCD generator. We can use that to provide a Debian-Hebrew LiveCD for experimental use by users who might not want to install the system itself.


All packages are maintained in the Alioth SVN Server (WebSVN view). to checkout packages (read-only):

  • svn co svn://svn.debian.org/debian-hebrew/

To join in the development team:

Information about using SVN can be found at http://svnbook.red-bean.com/