Older blog entries for roozbeh (starting at number 4)

Had a meeting with Samsung Iran people today, it seems that they are interested to make all of the hardware they market in Iran Linux-compatible. The main reasons are the US sanctions against the use of certain US technologies in Iran, and that Iran has not signed any of the international copyright treaties and conventions.

This means that the user will not want to pay the Microsoft tax for their laptops (because they can legally get a copy of Windows for two US dollars from the market), and they may not be able to provide genuine Windows licenses legally (as considered in the US/international context) anyway.

Ah, there's also that some agencies in the Iranian government are pushing for national adaption of Linux as the "National Operating System" (!).

So they are getting interested in Linux, and they want us to certify their products for compatibility with "Persian Linux" (whatever that means). Basically, we are going to get one free sample of every computer-related Samsung product sold in Iran and the full cooperation of their Korean engineers to develop drivers, if needed.

Unfortunately, it seems that not much cash is involved. We may either need to pay the employees with second hand color laser printers, or get involoved in heavy bartering with the university people, giving them monitors for lunch cards or something. Such goes business in Iran!

The first CLDR meeting I attended after almost a month just finished, with the international call provider dropping me out for no apparent reason and refusing to accept my PIN because it thought the other connection is still live. I hate it!

Anyway, I find it very sad that the only free software user of CLDR is OpenOffice (and ICU of course, but it's somehow the same thing, since it's not used in anything but OpenOffice in any normal Linux distro). CLDR is really the only properly peer-reviewed database of locale info, also with peer-reviewed localization of some very important things, like language, country, and timezone names.

And it tells you everything that glibc can't, like one-letter abbreviations for days and months, which Evolution could use, or different lengths of date and time display, which clock applets could use. It also doesn't have the problems people like Danilo have with glibc, Ulrich not accepting the new Serbian locales and being totally irresponsive about the reasons. glibc is currently probably the worst burden in starting a new localization project.

Currently, IBM, Sun, and Apple, the main three players in CLDR, are using the information for their shipping products. IBM uses it in ICU, which is supposed to become the platform providing Unicode and i18n to all their products, Apple has been using the data since Mac OS 10.2 (possibly through ICU), and Sun is using it in OpenOffice. There are also a few random committee members like me (representing High Council of Informatics of Iran) and representatives from Ireland and Finland national standard bodies.

Their main problem: the committee work is so slow that they can't release early and often, so projects with a shorter release cycle probably need to branch for minor version numbers every once in a while if they decide to use CLDR. Other possible problems may be it being in XML and having both sideways and directorywise hierarchical inheritence (which would make it hard to parse at first), and then having borrowed parts of ICU syntax in the fine print, which would need you to either borrow lots of code from ICU or implement logic to parse ugly syntax like "0≤Rf|1≤Ru|1<Re" or "# ##0.00 ¤".

15 Mar 2005 (updated 15 Mar 2005 at 17:52 UTC) »

Well, there seems to exist something called Planet GNOME Korea. Perhaps they don't know about the cool world map, are not interested in geographical arithmetics, or simply don't read Planet GNOME proper!

I have a situation here. Some (Iranian) people have copied my LGPL code without even attribution, and they deny it. The whole story is dirty, but is basically that they thought Open Source means public domain, and have even submitted my code to the Iranian government as a part of a contract, assigning "their" copyright to the governmental agency in the meantime! They have probably understood the issue since (I have explained it to them in person), but can't do anything about it, since them accepting that they copied my work would mean that they should either return the governmental money (which was at least about USD 17000), or replace my code (which they are incompetent to do).

I am following it up with the governmental agency (which is very probably unaware of the issue), of course, and am thinking about courts and all. (Any recommendation is welcome.)

The infringing code is even in the evolution-hackers archive. I posted a message there asking for the message to be removed from the archives: http://lists.ximian.com/archives/public/evolution-hackers/2005-March/005261.html

Is it impolite/bad/evil/something to ask for unlicensed copyrighted work to be removed from a mailing list's archives?

14 Mar 2005 (updated 15 Mar 2005 at 13:59 UTC) »

I'm trying to somehow make this my English blog, as opposed to my Persian blog UTF-8.

It was mainly this post by Daniel Veillard that made me try to think and write about the local perspective here. I first tried to disprove Daniel's point about geographical diversity, and tried to find the page about the countries that were represented in GVADEC in Kristiansand, but it proved Daniel's point. Yes, it's really an issue.

Guess what? KDE is more popular than GNOME here in Iran (same with the Arab countries). The reason: they are driven by customers rather than developers/designers/etc. When a user posts a bug report or a feature request that is written good enough and is easy enough, he gets it (specially if its low level, like i18n-related, usually it's someone from Trolltech that gives it to them). This results in much more fans, and since there is not much business around free software in Middle East and Africa yet which makes the fans the only people who write about free software, KDE, and other user-driven free software, gets mentioned more and more, which results in more users. The users rarely tend to become developers of course, because they get what they want usually, with enough nagging or noise.

And guess what, there are lots of frustration involved when nobody steps forward to give a patch for a bug. The user community simply rotates around itself: This bug shows it all. (It was finally Behdad, a GNOMIE, who came to their help.)

I just happen to be reading Alan Cooper's The Inmates Are Running the Asylum these days, and it gives me enough reason to make sure that we're on track. Yes, we are a smaller community both developer-wise and user-wise, we have less features, we don't have the resources to listen to end users much, but we will get more users in the end, who may start to turn to contributors. Alan Cooper tells me (and I have enough reason to believe it) that we are going to have a much much better desktop in the end.

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!