i18n bugs are important too

I’m Spanish speaker and my English level (as the most of Spaniards) was very bad before I went to Ireland few months for learning English. I was kind of lucky because I could have some extra English lessons at the school and they taught me some technical English at the university, although I couldn’t understand well complicated and technical papers.

I think that this is the typical profile of a computer science student in Spain. Of course, there are a lot of exceptions, but I guess you got the idea.

Well, but the Guadalinex/GNU/LinEx/Molinux/Lliurex/Ubuntu‘s users haven’t that profile at all. They usually don’t know any English at all. Most of them (we are talking of thousands of users) are children at schools, people who hadn’t got any contact with computers before using those distributions and people who know the typical few words in English to ask for directions on London or to ask for a pint in an Irish pub…

The most of our problems are about things we (developers) think are very intuitive but they don’t understand well. Even when they are explained in their own mother tongue…

Now let’s say that this people having a problem with their computers, with some desktop application. The most of the warnings and error messages are scary for them. Sometimes they say something useful, but the most of the time people with almost no computer skills or experience get scared and they stop doing what they were doing and think that the “machine” is broken… or whatever….

And now let’s see the same scenario, but with the warning and errors messages in a language they don’t understand… But this is not much better to have an option at the UI you don’t understand. They don’t use it, because they don’t know what is that about and to avoid breaking something…

If they don’t understand options or features, it’s like don’t having them, but also it gives to the user some feeling of “I can break something“.

Ok, this is not always like that. This is the worst scenario. But, trust me, this happen to the most of our users. I also could bet that this happen to non-English speaker users from any country.

All this introduction and explanation is to say: Please developers and triagers, don’t put internationalization (i18n) or localization (l10n) bugs as “Importance: low“.

We are pushing really hard to get the free desktops to the end users, to the schools, to the (non-technical) professionals and we need to have software well translated for that. But the i18n and l10n bugs are worst of having some strings untranslated.
Strings untranslated in one language are bad, but it’s easy to find people for translating those strings than find someone to understand the app’s code, the gettext and i18n stuff and then fix the code.

I think the developers need to be aware of the importance of fixing those bugs and what amount of users won’t use their cool features if they can’t be translated.

I don’t say those bugs are the most important ones, but sure they are not “Importance: low“…

I’ve seen to change this priority level in Ubuntu and GNOME, but I’m sure this is happening in more projects.

I would like to say one more thing, this time, just for Ubuntu. By now, there is no official tag on Launchpad for i18n or l10n bugs. I would like to ask you that if you report, triage, or find one of those kind of bugs and they have not this king of tags, to add it.

  • i18n: For those bugs about something broken in the application that makes the translations not being working, or strings not included at the translations templates (not marked for translations).
  • l10n: This is a localisation issue. Including errors in localisations, typos, etc. Adding locations and weather stations is one example. Correcting date and time formats is another.

In those cases, will be desirable you follow the Ubuntu Translations guidelines:

All translations (internationalization or localization) issues should be filled against the Ubuntu Translations (ubuntu-translations) project. From there the bugs will be triaged and assigned to the right persons and package.

You can also tag the bug with “l10n” or “i18n”.

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of problems that should be filled against an Ubuntu Translations Project (ubuntu-translations):

  • if a string from the application is not available for translation in Launchpad Translations
  • if an application from Ubuntu main repository is not available for translation in Launchpad Translations
  • if a translation made in Launchpad Translations is not updated in the Ubuntu Language Packs
  • a source package has the wrong (or inconsistent) translation domain
  • you find a duplicate template
  • a template/translation is no longer used in Ubuntu and should be deleted from Ubuntu Launchpad Translations
  • errors in spellcheckers or language support

You can find these guidelines and much more useful info at the Ubuntu Translations’ wiki.

Well, I hope this makes sense to someone and more developers get aware of the importance of i18n/l10n bugs.

See you soon and happy hacking! ;-)

Using git behind a proxy

This is a simple recipe about how to use git behind a proxy.

Right now I’m working behind a very restrictive firewall and I can’t get any port I need open, so I use a proxy socks for working with git,bzr,jabber and so on. I was looking for an easy way to use git with a proxy but I didn’t find easily the solution. After some researches a friend (Roberto) found the solution and we use it at work.

Let’s see it ;-)

Just in case we don’t have it:

$ mkdir ~/bin

Now the interesting part, the wrapper for the proxy:

$ cat <<EOF>> ~/bin/proxy-wrapper
#!/bin/sh
# Put your own values
PROXY_IP=10.0.0.80
PROXY_PORT=22000

nc -x${PROXY_IP}:${PROXY_PORT} -X5 $*

EOF
$ chmod +x ~/bin/proxy-wrapper

Note that you’ll need to have installed netcat (the openbsd’s one: netcat-openbsd) to be able to use the command nc with the option -x.

Then you’ll have to be sure you have setted the ~/bin directory on your PATH and then add the env variable GIT_PROXY_COMMAND. That variable will be used by git for doing pushes through git or ssh protocol:

$ cat <<EOF>> ~/.bashrc
export PATH=~/bin:"${PATH}"
export GIT_PROXY_COMMAND=~/bin/proxy-wrapper
EOF

Now you will be able to use git normally with no worries about the firewall, nat or whatever.

Come back from the GCDS

Last week was amazing. So many interesting people here in the island where I was born…

I met a lot of friends from different projects and people I didn’t know before, or maybe just from their emails and posts.

Thank to everybody for coming. Thanks to the attenders, to the boards and the local team (awesome job dudes!).

Tomorrow at 8 am I will taking my flight to Sevilla. And the day after I come back to work… I’m not really happy with the idea of having between 35º and 40º C , but the GCDS was a great for collecting new ideas for Guadalinex. New contacts, interesting projects, to know the next steps in GNOME and other desktop projects… All of that give me energy to  come back to the office and do some hacking ;-)

Now I like to hack a bit with some project, like Mago. I was talking with Ara Pulido at the Summit and I think we (guadalinex) will collaborate with them making new test suits. We need them for our project so we like to make them and share with the community.

Well, let’s pack and go to sleep, tomorrow I have an early flight.

Happy hacking :-)

Last advices for the GCDS

I know it’s a bit late, but I hope this helps.

I’m from Gran Canaria, the place where the event is going to be, so I like to give you some advices and recommendations:

  • Sun protection. Here the sun can burn you if you don’t take some protections. Some times seems like it’s not so sunny, but it could be dangerous if you are from a northern area.
  • Don’t drink top water. The top water here is supposed to be good enough for human consumption, but the true is that nobody here drink it. We always drink mineral water. And also here was a incident a few month ago about top water’s high levels of boron. That now is normal, but you know…
  • Here there is not so many place with vegetarian food but we try to find all kind places for eat nearby the event. You’ll find that info (which will be updated) at the wiki.
  • The important phone numbers are also at the wiki. Remember the international code for Spain is +34
  • In Gran Canaria (Spain), electricity is provided normally at a voltage of 220 V and 50 Hz. But you’ll probably find adapters at the mall (Centro comercial Las Arenas) just in front the event’s place.
  • Here in Gran Canaria we talk Spanish, so you can find useful the list of common words and expressions we have at the wiki. If you already know Spanish, you need have in mind that here we have some different words (eg. Autobus = Guagua).
  • The most useful lines of guaguas (buses) for going from or at the auditorium are the lines 47 and 17.
  • Taxi is also a good option. Probably you’ll pay 4 € for a normal ride (from the Auditorium to the farthest hotels.
  • There will be a infodesk where you’ll find people who can bring you some help. The contact person will be Fabio, but there will be more people there.
  • I will be also around there during the weekend, I can’t be sure about the rest of the week. Anyways, if you need touristic/local information or just any info of Canarias or Gran Canaria, find me (Juanje Ojeda) and ask me ;-)
  • If you have a group of people who want place for lunch of dinner, ask for me at the infodesk, I’ve been talking with some places to try to arrange this king of things.

I just like to add that Gran Canaria is much more than beaches and sun. So try to get into the countryside or to different part of the island. They are so different between them hat people usually get surprised.

I’ll highly recommend to visit Teror, Tejeda, Agaete, Artenara (and the Tamadaba pine forest), Mogán, Agüimes, Santa Lucía and, of course Maspalomas. There are more interesting places, but with those you’ll get the idea ;-)

Well, we’ll meet you at the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit :-)