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From Rob Weir <robw...@apache.org>
Subject Re: About the Former Native Language projects
Date Sun, 11 Dec 2011 00:02:14 GMT
On Sat, Dec 10, 2011 at 5:12 PM, Louis R Suárez-Potts <louis@apache.org> wrote:
> 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.
>


I can see several models that could work:

1. Volunteers who were previously part of native-language project
become members of this Apache project and work on our lists and other
infrastructure.  We already have the translations under the SGA, I
believe.

2. NL volunteers maintain their own external organization and
infrastructure and do their primary work externally but occasionally
contribute patches to this project. By adopting the Apache license in
their own work they make it consumable by AOO and LO.

3. NL projects work outside of Apache, and create localized
derivatives of AOO for local distribution.  This could be done as a
pure volunteer effort or backed by one or more business models.  So
long as they respect our trademark, this could be a fine choice.
Patches might be contributed back to Apache.  This is not required by
our license, but it makes things easier for them, since they would
then have less code to merge in for subsequent release of AOO.

You hint at another option.  I'm not sure it would work, but let's
list it for sake of argument:

4. NL projects are individually proposed as their own podlings.  Their
charter would be for them to produce localizations of AOO.  But they
would be autonomous PMC's within Apache, with their own website,
mailing lists, etc.

The above options could occur simultaneously by different NL groups,
according to their interests.  There is no right answer.  I'm not a
big fan of central planning.  It is really for these communities to
decide for themselves.  But if any of them want to know more about
Apache and how they might contribute to the AOO project, then send
them along.

-Rob

> 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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