Indonesia is a richly diverse country, which has led at times to conflict in the past, especially between different religious groups, though most of the population is Muslim. Because Indonesia is made up of hundreds of islands, the people are culturally and linguistically diverse. In modern times, efforts to bring the country together under one culture and language have had some success, but they have not been able to erase generations of diversity and the real physical separation of the islands. Much of the current population, numbering around two-hundred-fifty million, speaks the national language, Indonesian, as a first, second, or even third language. Of all the islands, Java is the most densely populated with a number of large cities, including the massive city of Jakarta, while the rest of the country is made up of smaller cities and rural areas.
Before the arrival of Europeans some five hundred years ago, the Indonesian people developed writing systems based on Arabic and South Asian alphabets that were used by traders frequenting the area. These writing systems were widely used until recent times when the use of Latin based alphabets became the norm for writing many of the native languages, a practice that is still observed today. Still, many groups in Indonesia lived without any writing until modern times. During the four hundred years of foreign control, Europeans heavily influenced any publishing in Indonesia. Towards the end of that period a number of Indonesians began to produce publications in native languages. When Indonesia finally became an independent country after World War II, the people were able to continue to expand their printing capacity. The number of publications produced in Indonesia has grown steadily since that time. Most of what is published in the country is in Indonesian, with much less in other languages. Along with information in printed formats, electronic information is also available and the Indonesians have embraced this technology where they have access to it, mainly in the cities. Indonesians are establishing an increasingly large presence on the Web.