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From Louis R Suárez-Potts <>
Subject clarification on origin of Native Language Projects
Date Sun, 11 Dec 2011 23:35:22 GMT
OT, more  or less...

I need to clarify the origin of the Native Language projects—and it's important to do this,
as part of the point of them was to capture the spirit of autonomy that characterises Foss
activity (you know, if you want something done right, do it yourself: one way of putting it).
The NL idea of native language modules focused on education and related services (not really
localisation) was originated in negotiation by Guy Capra and me, and it began as a compromise,
the alternative that Sun probably wanted to follow was simply to see about closing down Capra's
StarOffice Francophone effort, which had been doing quite well. But Guy handsomely defended
himself and we arrived at a compromise (I wasn't employed by Sun then). That compromise was
native language education, resources, etc., but not coding. And for the first six months or
so, it was purely probationary.(I was chided for not moving faster, but actually, the forces
I was contending against were not insignificant. The perception held—and there was a degree
of justice about it—was that the NLs would institute a community "Balkanisation" and series
of walled gardens. With the advent of the more powerful and large groups, such as DE, IT,
JA, the fear of dissolution in the face of linguistic tribalism, I suppose, became starker.
But this didn't happen, and I never really thought it would, for the thing that made OOo a
community (and it still exists, in a way) had to do with the possibility of community, enduser
contribution. Communication—essential to open source development—operated more or less
Venned: independent discussions overlapping with others' because there were no real boundaries,
as the projects really were circles within the larger OOo cline, and migration among them
was encouraged. But having the discussions in the native tongue did and does facilitate precisely
the value the typical user finds in the OOo community, the ability to speak natively and freely
on noncoding issues.

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