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 🙂

Guadalinex v6 is out!

I am pleased to announce that the final version of Guadalinex v6 is out 🙂
The official news are at the Guadalinex website. But it’s in Spanish, so I’ve decided to explain a bit (in my poor English) what is all about.
Before to start I like to thank to all those people who help to develop, test, fix, translate and document all those great projects which Guadalinex is based on. I really do. They make this possible and deserve most of the credits.
This is the 6th edition of Guadalinex which is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. The distribution is paid by the local government of a big region at the south of Spain, which is Andalusia.
There are a lot of people who think this is  waste of public money, but I think quite the opposite. And I think so because we don’t just make Ubuntu booting in Spanish and change the wallpaper, we try to listen to real end users from this region of the world and bring them the closer system to what they need and demand.
The distribution is oriented to the regular citizen, but it is being used at schools for few years. Thousands of children have been using Guadalinex (ergo Ubuntu/Debian/Gnome and much more free software stuff) everyday at the schools for about four years now.
But also people from very low populated areas of Andalusia have been using Guadalinex at centers with computers where they can learn computers skills and use internet for free. Now there are around 700 centers working from Monday to Friday for them.
Even the public libraries are using now Guadalinex.
Because of that, Guadalinex is more than a few technical or artistic changes. It’s a social project.

I think the changes we have made in this version are useful no just for Andalusian, but for all the people who feels more comfortable reading and writing in Spanish. And there also some interesting stuff for a normal Ubuntu user.

We like to push those improvements to Ubuntu, Debian, GNOME and all the wonderful projects we touch. And also new small tools we develop because our users need them. We think those are also useful for everybody.
I have to say that Guadalinex don’t try to compete with any distro. Guadalinex have its owns users with their needs and we just want to give them what they need. And in the process (if we can) to help the community and other people.

Our goals are really different from Ubuntu’s ones. Ubuntu need to be for everyone. Need to be universal and be useful and “compatible” with every person and culture.
We are the opposite. We need to target to specific people, with specific language, culture, needs and resources. That’s why Ubuntu is so useful for us, but Guadalinex is more useful for our users.
We have to deal with users who barely know how to write and know nothing about computers. Ok, we have also real good IT people or people who really know all this stuff, but our threshold is the user who less know.
We like fancy things on our desktops but sometimes we have to wait a bit to get them into Guadalinex because our users aren’t ready for them. And we know because we have professional helpdesk services, forums, feedback from teachers, from our technicians at the tele centers. So it’s not something we figure out by ourself and then take “conservatives” decisions, it’s something we do, because we know well to our users and we are here for them.
What I was trying to say is that Ubuntu (or any other generalist distribution) has a very important mission and there are a lot of smaller and more focused derivatives distributions that need to be there. This is an ecosystem and everyone grown and learn on this interaction.

Sorry for been so tedious, I’ll promise to tell shorter and funnier stories next time 😛

Well, actually my next post probably will be the list of things that are different between Ubuntu Jaunty and Guadalinex v6. The list is in Spanish now, so I want to explain it in English.
And If anyone like to try Guadalinex, we have a DVD version (the full edition) and a minor version on CD.
Thanks for reading 😉
Happy hacking!

Help with the Hal deprecation

Hi, I need somebody tell me what is going on with Hal.

Yesterday Carlos told me about Ubuntu’s plans for Karmic and the Hal deprecation. I don’t really know how could I miss this, but I didn’t know before…

Lately I was working a bit with Hal and I kinda like it. As far as I saw, there is a GNOME plan for that deprecation and hal will be split into different pieces which will be integrated into other software. Such a udev-extras, libudev, DeviceKit-*, the kernel itself and so.

I’ve been reading quite a lot about all those changes and I don’t really get the reasons for this move. And I don’t really know how the things will work when the migration be completed.

No more hal at all? No hal-info either? just udev rules (which, btw,  I find really confusing and ugly…)?

I hope someone could help me to see how the things will be at the near future around the hardware layer on GNU/Linux.

Thanks

Karmic UDS and other events

I still have an hangover from the last week. I was at Barcelona from Monday to Friday at the Karmic UDS (Ubuntu Developer Summit).

This is a great event for all those who are interested on knowing how Ubuntu works, but it’s basically oriented to those who are Ubuntu developers or from any of its derivatives distributions (like Guadalinex, which is my case). I think the event is interesting, in general, for any hacker and developer from upstream projects or just people nearby the Ubuntu world, because there is a lot of interesting people from Ubuntu, but also from upstream or derivative projects sharing knowledge and experiences to improve the next version of Ubuntu.

One topic that is always on the table (in many ways) is how to be better FLOSS citizens. I mean, how to do the things in the better way to give back to upstream projects all the improvements they do. And also to give the merit from each thing to its real author, from upstream, from Ubuntu or from the community.
I know (they know as well) that it isn’t always like that and some people from different project complain about that. But I truly believe this is an issue that is very important to them and they try to do their best. But to drive this is not very easy task and take some time.

I’ve been in four UDS (Mataró, Sidney, Seville and this one in Barcelona) and is getting better. The thing I like the most is that after the UDS you know there is a lot of work already done and almost every discussion and conclusion written down. You have a very clear concept about what is going on in the next release, how is going to be approached and who is going to be involved in the task to get them done.

I’ve been in a lot of different kind of FLOSS congress, seminars, summits and so for more the seven years and this is one that I like especially. Mostly because I feel it very productive. In a lot of congress, talks and workshop somebody talk about something you already know (or likely you don’t) everybody feel that could be interesting they talk a lot but when everybody come back to their homes (or a week later) everyone come back to their projects, work and real life and that it. In the UDSs, at least, you got after the event has finished a bunch of specifications, already discussed, with good feedback from different people, tasks in order to get it done and people with those task assigned.

I don’t know. The event is not perfect, it’s not the only way to do the things, but IMHO is very pragmatic and good way to do the things.

I really hope the next GCDS (Gran Canaria Desktop Summit) leave me the same good feeling after it’ll have finished. I know the GCDS is going to be great, but I hope after the event we have some real tasks and aims to follow to get the best for our free desktops.
Anyway, I know the event is going to be great. People form the both desktops (GNOME and KDE) are working hard for it. Also local teams and people are giving all they can (as Luis would say: “dandolotodo” ;-P ) to get the better cross desktop event ever.

Well, thanks to Canonical and the Ubuntu comunity and developers to give me the opportunity of participate in such of event and try to be useful for Ubuntu and Guadalinex. Also thank to the Junta de Andalucía and my company, Emergya, for cover my travel for being there.
I was especially happy to meet again with Daniel Holdbach and Jorge O. Castro, which are really great persons and very hard workers who push and work a lot for all developers and the community. I’m very sorry for not being able to say good by to them. I left in a hurry and I couldn’t say good bye to a lot of friends.

I also was happy to see to a old good friend and amazing GNOME hacker, Rodrigo Moya, which is now working at Canonical and I hope him the best in this new cycle of his life. Good luck Rodigo! 😉

Another person I met there was David Planella, which is new in Canonical as well, but he isn’t either new in the FLOSS world. He is translator in GNOME, Debian and Ubuntu. And now is the head of the Ubuntu Translations. As far I know he is going to be in charge of the coordination of the Ubuntu translations and the infrastructures around (Rosetta, language-packs and so). He is a really nice guy which seems very implicated and with willing of getting the things working.
I’m especially interested in his area because translations ir one of the biggest issues for Guadalinex and the coordination with him and the Ubuntu translations is very important. We also were talking about help from Guadalinex to test the Spanish translations to be sure the updates don’t break any application in the stables releases (as Jaunty in which is based the last Guadalinex version).

Well this post is long enogh, so I’ll save some thoughts for the next ones 🙂

Happy hacking to every one 😉

Some updates

It’s been awhile since the last post. I’ve been a bit busy with Guadalinex and some personal stuff. So here I leave some updates to keep my personal log no so empty…

Parkour:

I’ve got some problems with my back and I had to quit (for a while) with this new passion… Anyway, it was useful because it farce me to go to the doctor make a real check and found old and deeper problems. And what it’s better, it also force me to keep doing some exercise, which is helping me in many ways 🙂

Rock Climbing:

I leave parkour by now, but I’ve started to climb walls again. It sounds kind of weird, but this was a previous passion for me and it’s helping me with my back.

Ok, I’m not climbing like I was doing 8 years ago (that was more or less the last time…), but I’ve decided to start slow. Step by step.

I had to much injuries from my previous climbing period. I don’t want to do the same mistakes again.

I found some artificial walls for climbing but I’m actually doing some boulder in “el Puente de Triana” (the Triana bridge), here in Seville. There are always people climbing and people are very nice and open.

I hope soon I will be able to go to some real rock outside of  Seville…

This reminds me that in Gran Canaria are really good spots for climbing (also fot others mountain activities) so if anyone who is going to the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit like to know places, let me know. I¡m from there and I know quite well those places. Just let me know before the summit and we can do some excursion or something 😉

Guadalinex:

There is already the Ubuntu Jaunty, the one we use as base to derive. We were quite busy setting up all the building systems, updating our projects for being working on Jaunty and trying to help Ubuntu a bit with translations, bugs and patches.

No so many patches as I would like, but we are very few people and we spend a lot of time learning how Ubuntu works. There is a lots of procedures, documentation, wiki pages, tools, place from where get info… We are still learning, but I thing the next version and collaboration will be much smoother. And we’ll be more useful for them 🙂

We have alpha already in the streets and we are close to have a beta, which will be more Guadalinex alike.

Ubuntu Jaunty is a really good base. I have to said that for me is one of the best Ubuntu versions in many ways, so I expect Guadalinex be at least as good as Jaunty.

We’ll change some things from Ubuntu, as the notifications stuff. We like the new notifications but we need interaction on them for one of our main projects: Hermes. And the new notification system doesn’t allow to do any interactions.

By now we’ll deactivate this and we’ll use the standard of GNOME, at least, until the new notification implement some kind of solution for those use cases.

Few days off (offline):

I’ll go tomorrow to Vigo (Galician) until Sunday and I’ll be very offline those days. It’s my first time in Galician and I know I will love it 🙂

So many time wanting to go there and just 3 days there… But sure it’s just the FIRST time and not the last 😛

Guadalinex V6 Alpha is out

The first alpha version of Guadalinex V6 is avaible here.

There is an official note in Spanish where you can learn what it’s new in this early version.

Basically this is an Ubuntu Jaunty (based on the beta version) with some changes:

  • The artwork is different (but not the final one) to see you are in Guadalinex (mostly for the issues reports, so people don’t send us reports from Ubuntu or to Ubuntu from Guadalinex)
  • There is no language questions. The distro boots in Spanish from the beginning. From the boot to the desktop or the installer.
  • The installer is a fork of the Ubuntu one (Ubiquity). In previous versions of Guadalinex we changed the GUI to be easier for our users (at least simpler). So you can see the Jaunty installer but with less questions (all the locale ones, for example) but also with some more explanations and a interesting feature: a disk preview.  The disk preview is a tab on the partitioning step which let you see what you have in each disk and partition before to choose the way of partitioning the disk. This may help you to avoid some awful mistakes.
  • The application list is also different. We put the applications our users tell us in forums, mail lists and events. In some cases there are more applications (because we miss some functionalities in the default Ubuntu desktop) and some times it’s just an application swapped by one we think is more stable, is better translated or our users like more.
  • And there is also some applications or functionalities that were developed for a previous versions and we’ve updated to be able to used in V6/Jaunty. Actually the most of them are already on Launchpad and some are even able to be installed on Jaunty from our PPA

I know the distro is in Spanish, but probably some people here know Spanish. If you like to help, you can download it and give us some feedback.

If you like to report a general issue, probably it’s better to do it in Jaunty (we follow and try to fix issues from there). If you do that, please add tag named “guadalinex“, so we can notice it soon.

Guadalinex upadates

As I said on my last post, now I’m working on Guadalinex v6, but in this new version we won’t try to develop a lot of new things as in earlier versions, we have less time and different goals as well.

Our main goals are:

  • Release as close to Jaunty as we could
  • Have the same features already implemented for Guadalinex working fine (updated to Jaunty)
  • Have a really, really stable version
  • Have all the desktop, applications and documentation well translated into Spanish

There is also a implicit goal about trying to push our improvements  to the international free software community. We do have Spanish community, but no much people outside Hispanic community knows well some interesting and useful projects we have.

I have to thanks to the people from Ubuntu who is helping us with Launchpad and all the Ubuntu procedures so we can move a bit to the Ubuntu world. People like Daniel Holbach and others really care about us and the possibility of collaboration.

Now we have a distro registered in Launchpad:

http://launchpad.net/guadalinex

Some projects registered in Launchpad with the old source code imported from the earlier version:

And also a PPA (Launchpad’s Personal Package Archives) where upload packages built for Guadalinex (ergo Jaunty) so people can use our projects in Ubuntu Jaunty. By now there is just a couple of packages recently upgrades to Janty and with some fixes:

Our intention is get our distro ready for our schedule and start to put software we think is useful or needed for our users into next Ubuntu versions. We are just making the foundations.

But there is a lot of interesting and useful software already in Ubuntu or other upstream projects with some internationalization problems, so we must take care of them. We are reviewing the applications and mostly the installer or live system to be sure there is no non translatable parts.

Currently we are working on the Ubuntu live system (casper) to bring some i18n support on some messages the user see and probably doesn’t understand.

In the other hand our projects were made by Spanish developers for Spanish people and they haven’t much i18n support. And we are also working on that.

And for all those Spanish speakers who find hard to search and read documentation in English we are trying to set up a developer documentation wiki in Spanish for all the people who like to collaborate with Guadalinex. This is easier step for a lot of non-English speakers to get involved in any kind of free software community. And with that knowledge they can just collaborate with Guadalinex (but this makes them collaborate indirectly with upstreams projects…) or Ubuntu, Gnome or any project.

At least, I hope so…

Something similar helps me years ago… 🙂
Anyone who want help us or is interested on the project can contact with me or with the rest of the team here, in the irc (channels: #guadalinex , #ubuntu-devel or #guadabuntu) or , if you can read/write Spanish, at the Spanish mail list.

Thanks for reading so boring history I should turn off the verbose mode 😛