FrontlineSMS let users send, receive and manage SMS over a mobile network.

Folks we are seeing some issues with Pashto characters not rendering correctly when receiving or sending SMS.

I know this has been done here in Afghanistan, i.e. the Radio Mashaal implementation. Is there someone who could provide some pointers on this?

It is a Win7 Ultimate machine with the Arabic language pack installed, using FrontlineSMS 1.6.

Any help would be appreciated.. this particular install is supporting the Citizen Journalism project for the upcoming elections.

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Hi Darrin,

It sounds like a problem with character encoding in the app.  Is this something that has recently just broken or is this the first time you are testing it in that character set? We have recently done work to ensure our applications we support (almost) every character set around but I'm afraid that our current development is only applied to v2 of our software.  There is currently no active development on v1 of our platform.

Can I ask why you are using v1.6 and not the latest v2.3 version?  It is also free to download on our website?  If there is a specific reason then we'd love to understand it as we try to ensure v2 not only offers new functionality but also covers everything useful that v1 did.



Thank you for the fast reply!

I think the answer to your question is that we read this:

Version 1 is still the only version of FrontlineSMS which supports the following features:

  • Contact sub-groups
  • Frontline Forms
  • Translation Manager
  • Auto-forward to Email
  • Reminders

And we do have subgroups by region and language.

This is a new install, none of us here have worked with the software before. It was highly recommended and not much else seemed to fill the gap.

I will download and install the latest version on the Windows machine. Are there any significant differences between it and the Linux beta? The long-term server is Ubuntu based and should be running this week.


Hi Darrin

Thanks for your message. The Linux beta isn't really supported - we have a very small percentage of Linux users and so can't currently fully support it. So, we would say it's likely that you may experience more problems than with the Windows one, but if you have the ability to troubleshoot, it might be worth it to make it fit with your long-term setup plans.

Hope that makes sense,


Laura, Alex,

Thank you for the responses to my questions! As it turns out the Pashto letter problem is specific to the machine we were running FrontlineSMS on initially; it seems to have multiple issues with the Windows installation. Setting up and running from my own laptop cleared the problem.

The Linux install will be underway today, and I will be happy to provide feedback on that process. There are not actually many features we 'need' for the active project, but for the planned stuff coming up we are going to have to invest in some new hardware with Windows.. sigh.



That's great news. Let us know how you get on!


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