Re: [Indlinux-group] Non-community-based approaches to localisation


My name is RKVS Raman and I represent the localisation team in CDAC as
far as OpenOffice is concerned. By all probabilities I am the person,
Gora refers to about his experience with CDAC guys.  This mail is
intended to make the stand of the l10n group at CDAC clear to the
community and offer some explanation to the scathing accusations that
Gora and others have made on CDAC. At the end of this mail I do hope
CDAC contribution will be more welcome in the community.

CDAC is a government funded agency and takes up projects from
Government which are based on deadlines which are sometimes strict and
harsh. We work towards deadlines and are answerable to the funding
agency on things we commit. Localisation activity happens to be one of

We have 2 projects under it. One is the localisation of top-class open
source office tools (OpenOffice, Firefox et al) and other is a distro
customised for Indian Government Sector.

When working under deadlines, it was our observation that sometimes
(not all) the response from l10n communities for certain languages was
absent and for certain others sluggish. Oriya was one of them. I have
mails written to me by Gora in which he said that they were low on
resources at that time. During a meeting with him in FOSS.IN, he had
said that he cannot work towards our deadlines.

But that has not been the case alwys. We have taken contributions from
community. The Punlinux, Utkarsh and Swecha group would offer a
testimonial for Punjabi, Gujarati and Telugu. And we have compensated
for it and not that we picked it up from net for free when we could
have easily done it.  Even Rajesh Ranjan and Ravi Ratlami have
contributed to Hindi and Maithili. So we are not victimizing any
"unpaid" volunteers and belittling anybody's efforts.

The accusations definitely do not make any sense. Once that
misconception is cleared I would want all to look at the larger
picture and not dabble with petty issues of mismatched methodologies.

Here is an organisation which is willing to make crucial contributions
to the community at its own defined speed. I would want to believe
that this is one of the larger contributions any government agency has
made to the localisation efforts. Government has its interest in the
effort and so has its own temporal goals. We need to meet those goals
and so sometimes we need to take a path which satisfies our funding

At the same time few of us in the organisation do make sure that we
don't lock our efforts in our own backup servers. We share it. We have
always done it with OpenOffice and are now trying to do so for GNOME.
I am surprised at the resistance we get when we are trying to do this.
Should a major chunk of contribution go unnoticed just because we did
not satisfy the egos of those in 'power'? I would not want to believe
so. It would have been easy for us to just integrate it with our
distro and be done with our work. We would have satisfied our funding
agency, but we dont believe in it. We don't want to work in isolation.
But no, we are not apologizing to anybody either.

I now volunteer to be that liaison between open source communities and
CDAC if need be. I have personally shared cordial relationships with
ppl in IndLinux and so i  with some of my colleagues from the distro
l10n team can work towards making sure that the difference in
methodologies do not hurt the larger goals.

I do expect GNOME L10N and IndLinux community to take some positive
steps in this issue.

Best Regards

RKVS Raman

On Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 2:23 AM, Gora Mohanty <gora sarai net> wrote:
> (Deleted all personal addresses. Get yer info from lists.)
> On Sun, 7 Sep 2008 12:23:13 +0100
> "Simos Xenitellis" <simos lists googlemail com> wrote:
> [...]
> Dear Simos,
>  Thank you for your message. Such input, from yourself, and
> other GNOME localisation folk, who undoubtedly have a broader
> perspective, is exactly the reason that I posted this message
> here. It is possible that I am letting my own parochial
> prejudices outweigh more long-term interests.
>> The part that I think that is surprising is that a big organisation
>> (in this case C-DAC), took the initiative to put resources to carry
>> out large-scale open-source localisation.
> [...]
> Yes, the fact that they did do the localisation is great,
> and something that at least I personally have lauded.
>> The fact that the open-source l10n communities in India were not
>> consulted before the C-DAC localisation work, looks to me as a common
>> mistake, and does not surprise me. The way that open-source
>> communities work is just too different, and you can expect such
>> issues.
> I will concede your point about government agencies not knowing
> how (also, at least in India, probably not able) to deal with
> a FOSS community; with its rambunctious, devil-may-care attitude.
> However, this is far from being an isolated case, and in my past
> experience over the past five or so years, it has always been the
> FOSS community, largely with *unpaid* (and, I do wish to emphasise
> that fact, given the huge amounts of money that have gone into
> CDAC work) volunteers that have tried to bend over backwards.
>> What I see that was missing and still is, is a person to act as
>> liaison between the open-source localisation communities of India and
>> C-DAC. I took up somewhat this role during the discussion some months
>> ago, but it just looks awkward for me to be further involved.
>> Could someone pick up this task?
> Let me give you an example of such an effort, from *my* personal
> experience. My native tongue is Oriya, and when CDAC started
> localising OpenOffice into Oriya, I was pleasantly surprised
> to have the head of the effort contact me, and was all gung-ho
> about it. We gave them what we had of the OpenOffice glossary
> (1/3rd complete, from my personal effort), and asked them to
> finish the glossary, and talk to us so that we could ensure
> consistency. No response from CDAC for several months, despite
> several reminders from my side. Six months or so, later I get
> a message saying that Oriya localisation of OpenOffice is
> complete, though now it has been three years and they have
> apparently not yet deemed it fit to see that OpenOffice
> packages this. Also, the translations have little relation
> to our glossary. For OpenOffice, please do not take just my
> word for it. Please talk to Louis Suarez-Potts, one of the
> leading lights of OpenOffice.
> I have little doubt that other community localisers have
> had similar experiences.
>> What you have in hand is that there is a big organisation which showed
>> interest some months ago with l10n, and it might still have interest
>> in open-source localisation. It's up to you to lead the way with
>> C-DAC, in localisation or other open-source activities.
> Sure, we are willing to meet them three-quarters of the way,
> and definitely there are encouraging signs from among the
> younger folk at CDAC. This whole thread arose because someone
> from CDAC was actually willing to approach us. But, please do
> not blame *us* for being unresponsive. That hurts.
> Regards,
> Gora
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