Older blog entries for roozbeh (starting at number 92)

i18n design: Michael Kaplan has an interesting post called How to be un-international, which reminds me that i18n features, like everything else in the UI, must be designed. You can't just throw features there, just because someone asked for it and your developers did an (extended somehow?) implementation.
2 Jan 2006 (updated 3 Jan 2006 at 12:52 UTC) »
Silence news: Having been a silent here for a while, I guess some people may be interested to know what has happened in the meanwhile.
  • Regarding the Persian calendar in .NET, Miguel wrote to me and somehow challenged me for a patch to add Persian calendar support to Mono. I had never seen any C# code before, nor had run any Mono application, but could do it in a short time anyway. In the meanwhile, I practically redid the algorithm, to a level that now the introductory comments seem to be longer than the core code. Miguel then checked in my code almost verbatim, and now you can see comments like // FIXME: this may need a "static". I don't know enough C# in the code. I guess Mono critics can now say “Well, they even let people who don't know C# code for them, guess the rest”!
  • I got accepted as a Fedora Extras packager (first package: gentium-fonts). I consider the experience very educational for our own Sharif Linux. Since I was sponsored by Daniel (I put my GNOME/GUADEC relations to (ab)use), he somehow needs to cleanup after all my mistakes!
  • I officially resigned from the project that called itself “National Project for Farsi Linux” (and now calls itself “National Project for Free and Open Source Software”), after not attending their meetings for a while. The project is a monopoly in attracting what the Iranian government wants to spend in developing free software, and directing it to contractors who don’t necessarily know enough about free software. I guess this will help me concentrate more of my resources on what that project was actually supposed to do. (People like Behdad always told me they won't achieve anything technically useful, but I was optimistic). I am still trying to be kind to them, by not raising the numerous dark points of their record publicly, but that's very hard, specially since the highest level people in that project have called me names (“illiterate”, etc.), publicly and privately, after I had criticized someone else for plagiarism and violating the Iranian copyright law (the old story is mention briefly here). I agree I’m illiterate in several matters including politics (but perhaps not including Iranian copyright law), but I believe PhDs don’t bring literacy either.
  • We started an Iranian Free Software Association. The Persian word for free as in speech just means that (and does not mean gratis), so there was no need to add things like Open Source/FOSS/Libre/..., which do not make much sense when translated to Persian.
  • We achieved supported language status for Persian in GNOME 2.12.2. I“d love to thank all the contributors, but specially Meelad Zakaria and Elnaz Sarbar.
America's War for Petrol: More of the same patterns that led to Bush linking Saddam Hussein with Al-Qaeda, or that of linking North Korea with A-bombs are being repeated for Iran.

The important question about Iran is not "Is she?", but that even if the answer to that question is yes (which I doubt), the question should be "But why? But how?". I believe these have happened because of what the United States has done, directly helping the matter.

I will only write about the very recent case, the case which became a very important question for me, "should I leave Iran before our new business blossoms in full?" (Presently, the answer is undoubtedly yes.)

It was the recent election. Several media supported financially by the United States government, mostly including Iranian satellite channels operating from California but also official US media like VOA and Radio Free Europe, persuaded possibly millions of voters to not vote in the presidential elections. Who would have these voters voted for if they had voted? Very probably Moeen (who would have continued Khatami's program in a way) in the first round and Rafsanjani (who would have continued his own presidency's program from eight years back) in the second. Very few of them would have voted for Ahmadinejad.

The short result? The new Iranian administration, being so inexperienced, is digging its grave by acting incompetently both nationally and internationally. Internationally, they are starting to diverge from Europe and work only with close allies like Syria and Venezuela instead. The famous example is Ahmadinejad's remark about the Middle East conflict. Internally, business is declining badly, with several companies almost bankrupt and several people with shares in public companies in their hands who can't find new buyers. Everything is in a stalemate, and this is five months after the new administration has come to power.

All I can point to, is Ebrahim Nabavi’s “Why is President Ahmadinejad not afraid of America?” It may not be as funny as his Persian satires, but is undoubtedly enlightening. Just a quote: “If the US attacks Iran, many innocent people will die, which would eliminate many of Ahmadinejad's opponents.”

20 Oct 2005 (updated 20 Oct 2005 at 16:57 UTC) »
i18n: Microsoft has now finally implemented a PersianCalendar class in .NET (MSDN documentation, Michael Kaplan's blog).

The algorithm is the simple 33-year leap rule, which will fail to match the official Iranian calendar around 2089 CE.

But well, it's my own fault: it is the description I provided to Microsoft's Houman Pournasseh in 2001, IIRC, with some test data (the sentence "A leap year is a year that, when divided by 33, has a remainder of 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 22, 26, or 30." in MSDN looks very much to be my own words). At that time, I thought that was the correct rule.

There is also a 2820-year rule suggestion circling in various "patriotic" circles, which is 1) more complex than the 33-year rule; and 2) fails in about 2025 CE, in my own lifetime. For a while, I and Behdad were fooled into believing that this 2820-year rule is the official rule. It was only luck that Houman has asked me about the rule earlier than that. (We don't need that kind of luck in free software much, but that's another story.)

The official rule, implemented in a 1925 law, says that the beginning of the year is the first day of spring, that the year is the "true solar" year "as it has been". This means that one needs to do astronomical predictions of the time of vernal equinox and the true solar noon in order to compute the calendar properly. I am happy that the current predictions match the 33-year rule until about 2089, by when I will definitely be dead (if the law is not changed or something), and people won't be able to blame me for an incorrect implementation. (Well, my children may not like people blaming me for a Persian Y2K, but I guess I should not worry that much.)

20 Oct 2005 (updated 20 Oct 2005 at 12:48 UTC) »
New blood: Farzaneh and Elnaz (both GNOME Persian contributors and members of the FarsiWeb Project) are now members of the GNOME Foundation. Congratulations! There are now five FarsiWeb members that are GNOME members: Farzaneh, Elnaz, Meelad, Behdad, and me.
19 Oct 2005 (updated 20 Oct 2005 at 11:39 UTC) »
Photos: Elnaz is back from the FOSS Road conference in Tajikistan, and has now posted some of her photos, which includes a Monday bazaar from Dushanbe (Dushanbe means Monday in Persian, when the weekly bazaar is being held since more than a century ago in the town). Some of the more interesting (non-bazaar) ones:
Nice people: Wow! You won't believe how much a nice guy Federico is. I spent an hour or something to do something that I could somehow do easily (I had already thought about all the details), and he has thanked me three times for it, once in his blog and twice by email! It makes one love to do him favors.

Joel on Software: If you have not read the book, go and get it now. I got my hand on it last night, and was reading it until 7:45 in the morning, when I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer (hint: I was not a fan of Joel before, I just ordered the book since I thought it may be a nice thing to read). When I woke up at 15:30 or something, I couldn't get out of the bed until I finished it. It's incomparable to the blog, so don't use the blog as a sample of what's really in the book. The book is much superior.

14 Oct 2005 (updated 14 Oct 2005 at 20:51 UTC) »
Women in Iran: Adding to my last post, the largest Iranian automobile manufacturing company (automobile manufacturing is one of the major industries in Iran, possibly the largest), which is a governmental company, has now provided new uniforms to its female employees. Please note that this is not all female workers, but all female employees: the female employees usually work in offices, etc; the workers are mostly male. As far as I can tell, similiar uniforms are not issued to all male employees.

The exact text is something like this: "the company is asking the colleague ladies to wear the uniform that has been provided to almost all of them. Using the uniforms is obligatory, and the presence of the hounorable ladies in the company will be only possible if [they are] wearing the uniform."

Women in Iran: The new Iranian administration is somehow limiting women activies. First, the new Vice President in charge of Sports and Physical Education has mentioned that women's sport program should not be very long, or otherwise "problems" may be created for their husbands. Then, the new Minister for Culture has forbidden the female workers of the ministry and the organizations and offices under the ministry (which include the official Iranian news agency and a newspaper) to work after 6 pm.

The minister has mentioned that this is because "the sensitive role of the country's women in the elavation of the Islamic society and the necessity of effective presence of ladies in the warm focal point that is the family, in order to fulfill the sensitive responsibility of educating the children". I won't say much about the case of mothers, but if you don't have children at home to raise, I guess it's only the first part, your sensitive role in the elevation of the Islamic society, that applies to you. So, logically, it seems that the new minister believes that if a single or childless woman leaves work at 6 pm (or earlier), their absence elevates the Islamic society.

It may not be a coordinated act in the whole administration and may only be random opinions of inexperienced public servants, but it still takes its toll, and results in seeing less women in the society. As someone who has tried to help a few women find their place in the work environment, I am very concerned about this.

83 older entries...

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!