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[India] Translating Linux into Local Languages for Wider Appeal (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 15:37:52 +0500
From: Irfan Khan <khania@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: s-asia-it@xxxxxxxxx
Subject: [India] Translating Linux into Local Languages for Wider Appeal

Translating Linux into Local Languages for Wider Appeal

March 10, 2001, Bangalore
Source: Business Times 
A group of Linux developers are going at it in dead earnest to 
develop Linux-based software applications in almost all the languages 
right across the globe. Working on KDE project, the developer 
community is high on translating the applications into local 
languages, including Hindi."From the technical point, we put in a lot 
of effort to make this possible. We re-design from the initial core 
so that all languages including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Burmese, 
and languages that read from right to left like Arabic and Hebrew can 
be accessed and applications are understood.''says Martin Konold, a 
Linux promoter and core developer of KDE. 

KDE is an open source desktop environment for Unix workstations which 
uses graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for computing. Simply put: An 
operating system (OS) mainly deals with software - it is more like an 
abstraction layer on hardware, something to store your documents on, 
to connect to the Internet, or to type in text. The job of an OS is 
to handle all these devices in an abstract manner. 

"But now-a-days to have a favourable interface for humans, we have 
the graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and for these we need extra 
programme that provides graphic mode element which you can click on - 
that is like a text processor, a spread sheet or an e- mail 
programme,'' he said. This is unlike the command line programme which 
uses no graphic at all. ``India is high on our list not only because 
there is a dedicated user community using the Linux but even one of 
the first developers for the KDE project was an India,'' Konold 
pointed out. 

The project is making use of more volunteers to help in promoting 
Linux. That includes on one side translation for the project into 
various languages so that applications, help text, tool bar, etc. are 
in the local language with specially created fonts that can be used 
by non-programmers. Moreover, the recently released version of KDE 
(KDE 2) supports all languages while Arabic and Hebrew are in the 
beta stage. It's all about putting a friendly face to Linux and 
making non-programmers fall in love with its `open source-ness'. 
Earlier, it was more of a programmer to programmer kind of a 
connection that was difficult for an ordinary user to break into. 

But now the scene is slowly shifting. With the use of GUIs, user 
friendliness is becoming the key focus. "Currently, we are trying to 
produce this free software which can run on small devices -wireless, 
portable, those which do not need any power supply or those which 
work on radio transmission for countries like India, South Africa and 
other European countries,'' he added.