Re: [gnome-cy] Windows in Welsh, but not at public expense

On Wednesday 14 January 2004 9:55 am, I wrote:
> Dwi'n cydweld - dwi'n gweithio ar stori ynglyn �yn, ond mae angen tipyn o
> ymchwil yn gyntaf ...

Following on from this, I'm wondering about about the draft press release 
below (I'd be grateful for comments and corrections, and in fact for a few 
more names on the GNOME translation side - I can add more from KDE).  I will 
also copy the revised draft to BIG, for courtesy, before it goes out.

>>>>>begin draft

*Free software advances force Microsoft to support Welsh*

Work over the past few months by a group of free/open-source volunteers has 
forced Microsoft to plan an official version of Windows and MSOffice in Welsh 
to head off the threat of wholesale defections from its software.

The list of free/open-source software in Welsh is impressive: the GNOME and 
KDE desktops, Mandrake Linux,, and individual applications 
like Abiword, Mozilla and Scribus DTP are either available now, or will be in 
the near future.  This work has been going on for some time, but picked up 
momentum in 2003.  Upwards of 90,000 phrases have been translated so far by 
volunteers, working either alone or in a loose team, and there is now a firm 
base for a home-grown Welsh desktop running Welsh applications.

Microsoft has never offered an official version of Windows in Welsh (600,000 
speakers), let alone of MSOffice, even though the Welsh Language Act, giving 
Welsh official parity with English, has been law for 10 years.  Microsoft's 
decision now parallels that in other minority language areas which have 
decided to produce their own versions of free/open-source software.  

In Norway, Microsoft, after refusing to provide a version of MSOffice in the 
minority Nynorsk (400,000 speakers) for many years, agreed to do so last 
year.  The probable catalyst?  A version of produced by 
Norwegian group Skolelinux.

In Catalunya, Microsoft initially produced localised versions of Windows 95 
and 98 in Catalan (6m speakers), but reportedly failed to update them.  The 
Generalitat (Catalan devolved administration) then paid for a translation of 
WindowsXP, but apparently only the business version was translated.  Requests 
for a Catalan version of MSOffice fell on deaf ears until last year, when a 
forthcoming Catalan version of MSOffice was announced.  The probable 
catalyst?  Again, a version of produced by Catalan group 

In the UK, Microsoft has yet to offer a version of either Windows or MSOffice 
in Gaidhlig (60,000 speakers), even though a recent consulation exercise on a 
Gaidhlig Language Act for Scotland may possibly, according to Comunn na 
Gaidhlig, result in a stronger legal status for the language.  Those wishing 
for WindowsXP and MSOffice in Gaidhlig might be well-advised to start, or 
give new impetus to, their own localisation project for free/open-source 

It remains to be seen whether this new commitment to the Welsh language is 
real, or merely a ploy to take the steam out of the growing free/open-source 
software movement in Wales.  In particular, will the localised version be 
updated, and will Microsoft continue to pay for that itself?  The key 
question for policy-makers is: who is more likely to show continued 
commitment to the Welsh language - Welsh speakers themselves, or a 
last-minute "road to Damascus" convert to the language for commercial 


1.  Free/open-source software offers a compelling package of benefits 
(flexibility, security, stability, responsiveness to local needs), as is 
increasingly being recognised worldwide.  Further information is available 

2.  Welsh translation projects: 
KDE (Owain Green, KD and a.n.others) -
GNOME (Dafydd Harries and a.n.others) -
Abiword, Mandrake (Rhoslyn Prys) -
Mozilla (Dewi B Jones, Rhoslyn Prys) -
Scribus (KD) - (Rhoslyn Prys, David Chan) -

3. Nynorsk and Catalan:
General - (bottom of 
the page)
Skolelinux -
Softcatala -

4.  Gaidhlig
Some initial work on a Gaidhlig has in fact already been done, 
and there are dormant Gaidhlig GNOME and KDE projects.  The consulation 
exercise on a Gaidhlig Language Act has just been completed, and attracted 
some 2,500 submissions.

>>>>>>end draft


Best wishes

Kevin Donnelly - Meddalwedd Rhydd yn Gymraeg

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gnome-cy pengwyn linux org uk

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