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This is GNU FriBidi
The Free Implementation of the Unicode Bidirectional Algorithm.


One of the missing links stopping the penetration of free software in Middle
East is the lack of support for the Arabic and Hebrew alphabets. In order to
have proper Arabic and Hebrew support, the BiDi algorithm should have been
implemented. It is our hope that this library will stimulate more free
software in the Middle Eastern countries.


It is our hope that this library will stimulate the implementation of Hebrew
and Arabic in lots of free software. Here is a small list of projects that
would benefit from the use of the GNU FriBidi library, but of course there are
many more: Wine, Mozilla, Qt, KDE, lynx, OpenOffice.

GNU FriBidi is already being used in projects like Pango (resulting in GTK+
and GNOME using GNU FriBidi), AbiWord, MLTerm, MPlayer, and BiCon.


Currently GNU FriBidi does not depend on any other library, but uses Glib if
available.  It uses GNU Build System for build and installation on POSIX


The latest version of GNU FriBidi may be found at:


See INSTALL for a description of how to build and install GNU FriBidi.


GNU FriBidi is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License
as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2.1
of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

GNU FriBidi is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU Lesser General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public License
along with GNU FriBidi, in a file named COPYING; if not, write to the
Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330,
Boston, MA  02111-1307  USA

For licensing issues, contact <>.


The library implements the algorithm described in the "Unicode Standard
Annex #9, The Bidirectional Algorithm", available at GNU Fribidi has been tested
exhaustively against the Unicode Reference Code, and to the best of our
knowledge, it completely conforms to the specification, always producing
the same result as the Reference Code.

The library uses Unicode (UTF32) entirely. The character properties are
automatically extracted from the Unicode data files, available from:

This means that every Unicode character is treated in strict accordance
with the Unicode specification.

There is a limited support for character set conversion from/to the UTF32
encoding.  Data in these character sets must be converted into UTF32 before
the library may be used.  iconv(3) can always do a better job on that, so you
may find that the character sets conversion code is typically turned off on
POSIX machines.

The reordering of characters is typically done through the function:
     fribidi_log2vis(/* input */
		     FriBidiChar *str,
		     FriBidiStrIndex len,
		     FriBidiCharType *pbase_dir,
		     /* output */
		     FriBidiChar *visual_str,
		     FriBidiStrIndex *position_L_to_V_list,
		     FriBidiStrIndex *position_V_to_L_list,
		     FriBidiLevel    *embedding_level_list

     str                    is the Unicode input string
     len                    is the length of the unicode string
     pbase_dir              is the input and output base direction. If 
                            base == FRIBIDI_TYPE_ON then fribidi_log2vis 
                            calculates the base direction on its own
                            according to the BiDi algorithm.
     visual_str             The reordered output unicode string.
     position_L_to_V_list   Maps the positions in the logical string to 
                            positions in the visual string.
     position_V_to_L_list   Maps the positions in the visual string to 
                            the positions in the logical string.
     embedding_level_list   Returns the classification of each character. Even
                            levels indicate LTR characters, and odd levels
                            indicate RTL characters. The main use of this
                            list is in interactive applications when the
                            embedding e.g. level determines cursor display.

In any of the output pointers == NULL, then that information is not 

How it looks like

Have a look at tests directory, to see some input and outputs, which
CapRTL charset means that CAPITAL letters are right to left, and digits
6, 7, 8, 9 are Arabic digits, try 'fribidi --charsetdesc CapRTL' for the
full description.


There is also a command-line utilitity called fribidi that loops over
the text of a file and performs the BiDi algorithm on each line, also
used for testing the algorithm. Run fribidi with the --help option to
learn about usage.  The command-line utility is known to have problems
with line-breaking and ltov/vtol lists.

Bugs and comments

Report GNU FriBidi bugs at:

And send your comments to:

Behdad Esfahbod


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