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From Louis R Suárez-Potts <lo...@apache.org>
Subject About the Former Native Language projects
Date Sat, 10 Dec 2011 22:12:43 GMT
Regular readers of this list might recall discussions by Khirano, Rob and others about the
fate of the Native Language projects in OOo. I'm not sure what the outcome was, and a quick
browse of archives didn't really enlighten me, as it seems things were left hanging.

I'd like to see if we can resolve this issue. A recap: OOo had many "native-language projects"
in which non-coding discussions were in the native tongue, e.g., Russian, Viet, Brazilian
Portuguese, Gaelic(s), and so on. At any given moment there were about a hundred, and one
can see these listed still at http://projects.openoffice.org/native-lang.html.

These were non-coding projects but also were designed to provide a path for contributors to
gain both the skills and community respect to gain more power within the project. They also
served as "homes" for a lot of l10n work, though there was no necessary connection between
one and the other. That is, there could be an l10n effort but no corresponding Native Language
project, and vice versa. 

The projects had their shortcomings. First, I had set them up as *linguistic* projects so
as to maximise the global distribution of any given language's speakers, and to minimise nationalist
claims to any language, which I saw as potentially limiting. Second, the NL projects did not
easily lend themselves to in-person communication, which, as we all know, is where the real
community action takes place. it was therefore difficult to arrange for meetings, conferences,
outreach programmes, and so on, at least coming from the NL projects, though there were, of
course, signal exceptions, such as German, or French, where there was already an engaged body
and commercial infrastructure. 

Consequently, over several OOoCons, I proposed and to a degree, put into action, a skeleton
method by which there could be regional modules whose remit was to do on-the-ground community
development. They would be aided by the central OOo but otherwise they were left up to their
own devices. Raphael's Swiss NGO and community is the best example, but there are others.
The problem here, was that there was in this instance, as in others, scant attention paid
by the corporate overlord, as it did not obviously contribute to *coding* (and if it had,
no doubt other problems and issues would have been discovered invalidating the effort).

Now to the present issue. I've written that I would rather focus here, in Apache land, on
coding. But that only opens the door, as it were, to establishing the very successful Native
Language modules either in another wing of Apache (??) or outside the Apache frame but corresponding
to it, so that QA, a key element of the NL projects, for instance, could be tied in. Licenses,
etc., would have to be harmonised. And I'd also suggest using a simpler work medium, such
as wikis. 

I think some of this is already going on but it is not clear to me *what* is going on or where.
I'm not alone. I have received several pings on this very question, and I'd like to move on
it.

cheers
Louis

PS The majority of the NL projects reformed to constitute LibreOffice. Because of disparities
of license, I suppose harmonisation of effort will be more difficult, but by no means ought
it to be abandoned, if actual contributors deem it worthwhile.  I dislike duplication of effort
both as a project manager and as someone who then has to persuade the bewildered user that
A and B are just alike but one is more equal than the other.



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