A change in the OS

Re-installed my production laptop (a Dell XPS M1210) with Fedora Core 6 (was using Fedora Core 5 earlier) and am really dazzled. By the speed, by the light feel, by the new look among other things. Used the 915 resolution hack to fix the widescreen display and since I am not using the WiFi did not bother tweaking around with the ipw3945 bits. The good thing (and folks have written about it already) is that one can add additional repositories at install time – saves me the trouble of having to add my favorite repo later.

Some random thoughts on the GNOME Translation Project CVS access thing

One of the recurring things that keep coming up on the GNOME i18n mailing lists is the issue of CVS access. Prima facie the issue of CVS access for file commits is very simple. It is assumed that for that particular locale/language, there will be a language team in place along with a designated project lead. The volunteers who translate the files for that language would pass on the files to the project lead who will commit them to the GNOME CVS. This will be the workflow in the initial stages. Slowly as and when the project lead observes that a small number of volunteers are doing excellent work and providing the much needed heavy-lift, the project lead will propose for CVS access to the selected volunteer thus acknowledging the work done as well as providing the much needed “with great power comes great responsibility” line. Sane, safe and simple – these are the hallmarks of the process.

The glitch happens when all sorts of odd combinations appear. Assume, the project lead does not have CVS access : did hear you gasp – it happens. Or, the project lead(s) have misplaced their CVS access – that happens too. Sometimes it also so happens that the project lead choses not to talk on the mailing list (in the absence of the team having a separate mailing list) but does so in private or worse does not talk at all. So in all the above we normally end up with a volunteer contributor who has taken on the task of translation of the GNOME files, completed a chunk of them and is waiting expectantly for someone/the project lead to commit them to the CVS so that (s)he can go back to what (s)he does best – translate. Of late this has been happening with far too much frequency than one would like and I wish I could propose a sane way of resolving this. Frankly, I cannot. Providing the stranded volunteers immediate CVS access is not done and might just be counterproductive. Encouraging other contributors who have CVS access to commit would be counterproductive and subverting the system in the long run. What could be done however is tell the project leads to be more commited towards doing things in a more transparent manner and on the i18n mailing list. A whole lot of folks who are project leads have tremendous demands on their time – a single mail validating the requirement for CVS access for the new volunteer might just be the medicine that the project would require. If the volunteer in question is already handling the same language for other projects/distributions, perhaps that would augment the case.

Having an OpenOffice. org MiniConf during January 2007

Got on to a longish (and extended over some days) mail thread with LSP from OO.o about having a regional level mini conference for OO.o. What brought this about was the general perception that [1] regional level development and contribution to the core is not happening and [2] contribution to the core has a high entry barrier. The current plans are to hold a one and a half day (un)conference at Pune (need to see wherefrom one can get the venue) with the must include list of participants:

  1. Members of the Indic NLP
  2. CDAC
  3. TDIL
  4. Red Hat
  5. Novell
  6. Ubuntu
  7. IBM
  8. Sun Microsystems

Keeping the number of participants to around 20-25 should lead to discussions which can come out with action points and timelines. The tentative agenda is:

  • Get a development and contribution process in the open (rather than maintaining in-house forks)i e, making transparent code review/acceptance procedures for OOo. And also in the same breath, encouraging core development. Synthesizing and clarifying the procedures for localization and core development and at the same time emphasizing core development along side QA
  • Elaborate the contribution to OO.o process for Indic NLP and other volunteer contributions
  • Setting realistic goals for the Indic NLP along side putting it squarely in the middle for coordination with the various government
    bodies who are stake holders in standard committee
  • Call for Volunteers
  • Dictionaries, Thesaurus and other necessary tools to make a complete OO.o in local language
  • Forming sustainable teams that are funded and enabled by government & corporate & NGO agencies

So if you know an agency or a body which might be interested in: [i] Hosting [ii] Sponsoring [iii] Taking care of logistics for the above event, please do get in touch with me (sankarshan at openoffice dot org) with the Subject Line OO.o Regional MiniConf Jan 2007