Archive for December, 2005

Happy B’day IndLinux

It was around this date, six years back, IndLinux was born, on e-groups. Its been a long journey since then, to reach the present stage. Interested to go down memory lane, read the old posts at old list and current list. Some archives from Nov 2000 to Sept 2001 are unfortunately lost.
A complete saga of localization is being sewed up at http://www.indlinux.org/wiki/index.php/IndLinuxSaga

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Indic@FOSS.IN report

FOSS.IN/2005, the premier Free & Open Source Software event happened at Bangalore Palace, Bangalore, India from 29th Nov to 2nd Dec 2005. As always the event provided a center point for different localization groups to get together. The highlights of the event were the whole day localization track on 2nd Dec, IndLinux stall at FOSS Expo and the Indic computing BoF sessions.

First with IndLinux stall, the event this time saw a wider participation from FOSS groups at the FOSS Expo, so it was pleasant not to be alone. Setting up a stall & holding on there is always tough, esp. with the absence of few regular volunteers who couldnt make it to the event. Its high time others come forward to take initiative on own than on some push-pull factor. Overall the response was good, though no effort was made to track it & some more preparations like giving out pamphlets, indlinux CDs etc could have made it better. An interesting aspect noticed was of the support staff at the venue (security, cleaners) etc getting curious seeing the Indic interfaces. We had a new banner this time, though old one was also on display for couple of days by the closing of event it also went through the ceremonial signing party by speakers, volunteers & delegates.

As usual the stall saw a regular gathering of FOSS proponents & Indicers. Highlight points of these discussions were Konkani and Manipuri localization. Konkani which is written in 3 scripts (devanagari, kannada, roman) poses an interesting question as to the triple effort needed for a complete localization. It offcourse demands development of some transliteration schemes to convert to & fro between Konkani text written in the different scripts. Those interested in Konkani efforts join the ilug-goa group where Fred is trying to sew Konkani efforts.

Manipuri is one of the unsupported languages, though it can be still used with Bengali script, there are some efforts to revive ancient Meetei script, which is still a long drawn process, pending which some basic localization tasks like locale definition, keyboard, fonts (using bengali script) can be worked on. Interested people join linux-manipur group where Pebam Ringo is trying to get the people together.

Indic BoF meet happened on Day 2 afternoon in FOSS village and was attended by the groups – Ankur, C-DAC, IndLinux, Janabhaaratii, Malayalam, Oriya, Swecha(Telugu), Tamil, Utkarsh(Gujarati). This BoF also got clubbed with FOSS in education one, the underscoring point being that local language computing forms a critical part of it.
Main points in discussion were: Testing, Deployment and enhancing communication among groups.
Extensive testing has to be done for different stuff, since while the support is already there, there are still issues cropping up across in different environments. This demands documentating all bugs, writing test cases, preparing test data etc. On deployment, it was discussed to identify few test sites, where Indic stuff could be deployed for use by a specific target user group and collecting feedback to improve things. But the main realisation being that its high time the differernt groups be more vocal about their activities, talking about it in different forums, mailing lists, blogs, update posts etc. so that the rest of world comes to know what a team is doing, interesting people feel motivated and encouraged to join in and duplication of efforts can be avoided.

All Indic & Localization talks happened on the last day as a single track in Cox hall from morning to evening. This year saw lot more new speakers in this area, talking about useful work they have been doing in Indic L10n area.

Following were the talks (in order of schedule)

The long and winding road: FOSS computing in Indian languages
Gora Mohanty, Sarai, CSDS

Delivering Localized Content in Education
Indranil Das Gupta, L2C2 Technologies

Indic Tools for Community Knowledge Bases
Srinivasa Raghavan K, Sarai Consultant

A Javascript Indic Input Method Editor
Surekha Sastry, Sarai Consultant

Localization With Mono
Kartik Mistry, Magnet WebPublishing Pvt. Ltd.

Multilingual Internet
G Karunakar, IndLinux.org

Internationalization challenges facing the WWW
Badi Kumar S, Yahoo! Inc

Workshop on Localised geographical information system
Kanhaiya K Kale

Talk slides could be downloaded from the respective talks from schedules page

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Indic@FOSS.IN log

Three days into FOSS.IN, though the l10n is yet to happen, a lot of discussions happened. Many ppl meeting first time face to face.
As usual there was IndLinux stall, with the demos up & Gora working hard on them. Indic Computing BoF meet happened along with FOSS in education, one point stood out that down the line both have to go hand in hand. Discussion points for Indic centered around focussing on deployment activities, testing, and more aggressive community building of developers & users.
There were some discussions on starting Konkani localization & the issues involved in it since its written in 3 scripts.
Pebam from manipur was interested in knowing what needs to be done to start Manipuri localization. While Manipuri is written commonly in Bengali script, there have been recent efforts to revived the old Meetei script. Some googling brought out that Pravabati made a Meetei font & a keymap which is released under GNU GPL!.

Tomorrow (2nd Dec) whole day is localization track in Cox hall.

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