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Asiasource I - Bangalore, 28th of January to the 4th of February.

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Submitted by msameer on Mon, 07/03/2005 - 11:36am

Here's the copy of the report I've sent to the arabeyes mailing list And posted at the eglug website. Late as usual but I expect that you all are used to this when it comes to my side ;-)

From the 28th of January to the 4th of February, Was Asia source I
Co organized by The Tactical Technology Collective and Mahiti in Bangalore, India.

I was short in time when Arabeyes asked me to present them there as no one from the core team was free. I was able to take a vacation from my job and fly there, I was preparing my papers till the last hour.

We stayed in a camp on the outskirts of Bangalore.

The 8 day event came with a flexible agenda. It included an outing to either the IT park or to a school. And this was the only time we had to be divided into 2 groups! and the organizers left a good room for us to modify it.

This event was not an event seminar, but a workshop seminar. Rather than having the attendees sit and listen to lectures, the event concentrated more on hands-on learning and activity. The overall aim of the event was to increase the uptake of FLOSS by NGOs (non-government organizations). They planned 3 main tracks for the camp:

1) Localization Track, which I was part of as a facilitator. In it we were trying to transfer our knowledge regarding l10n to the attenders.

2) Open Content Track, which was further divided into the 2 sub tracks of content and media. The overall aim was building skills on how to use FLOSS tools in the multimedia field and how to build community websites using open source CMSs.

3) Migration and Access Track, which included an introduction to GNU/Linux and FLOSS for to the win32 platform. i.e. How to plan migration of NGOs from the latter to the former and how to apply the plan etc...

In addition to the documentation side-track to document the whole event.

As I said, The whole thing was done via hands-on sessions that included interaction between the facilitators and the other attendees, As this is believed to be the better way to learn and teach by the event's organizers.

Every day began at 8 AM with breakfast of course, followed by a morning's circle at 9 driven by "Gunner" the awesome guy, and on of the events' organizers, which is then followed by the main tracks' outings from 10 AM to 1 PM.

The day resumes at 3 PM with another meal, followed by a 4 to 5 session at the same time covering various relevant topics and sure you can only attend one of them ;-)
The broad spectrum of topics covered issues from 'FLOSSophy' to wireless sessions and wireless antenna building to GNU/Linux security to FreeBSD introduction and many many more.

Another meal was dispensed at 7:30 PM? (not exactly sure), followed by a single evening event, It could be a movie watching, A DJ. Or anything, And one has a choice not to attend it.

During the week we also had some various side activities. One of them was the wiki painting, where the idea is that each one is supposed to go and paint whatever he wants on a board prepared for that.
The board stayed there for days, And each one got a piece of the large painting.

As I was representing Arabeyes more than EGLUG "But I was representing myself too ;-)" I think I came out with the following from the event (This does not include any lessons or things I learned personally). They may be of help:

1) We can get in contact with the pootle and translation toolkit development teams. Those are written in Python, and maybe we as Arabeyes can join the development (I'm thinking about doing it myself). Pootle as a web-based translation tool "plus some tools to convert mozilla and open office translation formats to PO files and vice versa." can be used when we have people with permanent connection and even by someone like me who hates GUIs ;-)

2) I came out with a basic understanding about how the translation teams work. How to plan for a l10n project.

3) How do teams translate hard words? Usually people try to see the English roots of the word and examine other languages they know and see how they came out with the translation.

4) I got in touch with the KhmerOS founder. They have an NGO with employed people to do the translation. Another project (perhaps the Hindi translation, not sure) is based on dictatorship were each volunteer is assigned a file to translate.

5) Most of the people I found are not asking the volunteers to use CVS to manage the translation. I see that this is a good point as we shouldn't require the volunteers to interact with the CVS or have good technical skills, but can rely on people with pure translation skills.

6) I think I somehow understand a basic idea on how to create fonts.

7) I'm somehow interested in helping the Pashto and Urdu people but this is my own interest which not tied to arabeyes.

8) I have a report on "A project for the computerization of East Timor in Tetum language" But I'm not yet sure about the license so I'm not going to publish it, And I have to read it 1st.

9) I think I found someone to help in certifying the Quran data files, I didn't take any actions yet, But I'm planning to contact the guy "It seems that the this won't happen!".

10) Each participant (myself included) went back home with a copy of NGO-in-a-box which is basically a box containing some distros and documentation among other software suitable for NGOs trying to switch to FLOSS (I didn't find time to look at it, but I'm sure it's worthwhile).

11) I'm sure I've forgot many things!

I have also been interviewed by Frederick ;-).

IMHO we didn't gain much regarding Arabic. Very few of the attendees had issues related to Arabic.
The event was mainly organized via the wiki.
You can find all the information you want there. Also the contact info for the localization track facilitators. Last but not least is the list of participants.

We as Arabeyes could have gained much more had we been given more time to prepare. I however gained quite a few contacts and friends :-)

Another source event'll take place in Africa this year, But they are thinking about organizing it in north Africa as almost no Arabs did attend the previous source event in Africa but they are having a problem finding a place to organize it.

I'm not sure whether Arabeyes can hold such an event alone, But IMHO if we can find a sponsor we can do it.

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