OpenVanilla 0.9.0a1

Zonble and I have released OpenVanilla 0.9.0a1 for Mac OS X today. OpenVanilla is an input method toolset. I've started the project with a number of friends in late 2004, and it has become one of Taiwan's most important open source projects for Mac users. Its Mac distribution provides a replacement for Apple's own built-in Traditional Chinese input methods, regarded as inferior to their Windows counterparts.

0.9.0a1 is built from the Oranje branch that Zonble and I have forked in late 2008. Our goal is to keep only the core and the most essential modules, and to modernize the code base, whose foundation was largely laid during our early days of dabbling with C++.

Personally I no longer use OpenVanilla. I now use Yahoo! KeyKey for my everyday text input. My company was commissioned by Yahoo! Taiwan in 2007 to create a cross-platform input method solution. Its design and architecture is based on OpenVanilla, but it also supersedes OpenVanilla in many ways. Take the Smart Mandarin input method for example. Also commissioned from scratch-up by Yahoo! Taiwan, it uses a database-driven, bigram-based engine that is capable of utilizing large corpus and search engine-provided terms. This is the input method with which I finally settle down.

Still, I'm glad to have been able to resume working on the core of the Oranje branch. It is also an example of using IMK-Tiger to produce distribution packages that support both 10.4 and 10.5/10.6.

In essence, 0.9.0a1 is a more developer-oriented version, with the focus on the core (framework, loader, essential modules). With our limited resource and time, polishes needed for end-user distribution are mostly left out to future developers who want to continue OpenVanilla's development. For people who choose to use OpenVanilla because it's an open source solution, on the other hand, 0.9.0a1 will bring timely update to the software itself, especially compatibility with Mac OS X 10.6.