Down to the wire on day 5 of POSSE SA, and time for reflection. Dinner with everyone yesterday evening was very productive – so many anecdotes on Open Source and its personalities, but also a great many good ideas about FOSS in Africa and what needs to be done to develop the community, get it into communication and get things happening.
From the university perspective, quite a few ideas come to mind, chief among them the need to establish training and certification. As a teacher at the University of the Western Cape here in South Africa, I can report that UWC has recently made a commitment to Open Source. We are currently running most of our servers on a Linux platform and the Shuttleworth foundation has sponsored computer labs dedicated to FOSS. As a next step, it would be nice to be able to begin the process of not only teaching with Open Source at UWC, but providing certification that is course inclusive, in other words that comes as a side effect of taking certain courses. In this way we achieve the death of a flock of birds with a single stone: firstly, the students have something to add to their CV’s; secondly the companies that head-hunt our students annually will have something more to consider; thirdly the university benefits by providing students that are more marketable and by increasing recruitment of alumni by the market; fourthly the FOSS community benefits by young qualified recruits; and finally (but not least 😉 ) Red Hat benefits by increasing its exposure in (South) Africa and having its certification available at recognised tertiary education institutions. We need to engage with Red Hat on this topic.
Today we were all talking about going forward, and one of the things that became obvious when accessing various sites about FOSS, was that although we here in Africa know that there’s FOSS activity and work being done here, the rest of the world doesn’t know about us. This is another thing we need to fix – we have a huge human resource out there that we need to be thinking about harnessing and involving – something like what was behind the establishment of the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). I guess a good first step would be to begin setting up a few conferences and getting some of the European and American personalities to visit and encourage us, and get to know us and about us.
So – it’s all drawing to a close, and the experience was remarkable. Apart from the remarkable enthusiasm and obvious competence of the presenters, the spirit that developed between us all over the last five days was amazing. I really hope that we keep this excitement and enthusiasm going into the future; if we do we’ll be unstoppable.
Thanks Mel, Pierros and Jan – it was a privilege to meet you guys and share in your enthusiasm and belief in what you do, and for the community. Hopefully, we’ll see you all again sometime!
End of day 4, and I have finally managed to complete the entire process for myself – from .pot to .po, to translation to upload!
Thanks to everybody that helped me; it was an interesting and rewarding experience. Looking forward to the final day!
Transifex completion report
Things are moving quickly for me now on Day 4; I managed to deal with the process of downloading, translating, and then this morning with Pierros’ help uploading the translated files to Transifex. Pierros got me approved for cvsl10n so that I could work with the files on the site. Peirros also arranged commit permission for me, so the process is manageable by myself from .po file to uploaded completion at this point.
Getting my first two translated files uploaded and seeing the 100% completion report on Transifex was awesome! This afternoon though, I still need to understand the process of converting .pot files to .po, and I need to get the translation schedules.
Today was non-stop busy for me, to the extent that I had to participate remotely in the Teaching Opensource workshop. I didn’t have much time to see what the others were doing, but a few brief glances showed that some interesting stuff was happening. As for me, I communicated a little with Mel and Pierros so that I could get busy with doing a little translating for Fedora, specifically release documentation into Afrikaans.
So, it was download Poedit, wait for Pierros to set up the .po files for download, and away I went. I just kept Poedit running and typed away whenever I had a moment, or whenever whatever was going on became too boring. By the end of the afternoon I had finished about 75% of the first file, which was satisfying. I should get it finished off by the end of the evening.
Finally, I have my blog up and running after several false starts caused by me not realising that my home machine (currently configured as a development server) had security permissions that were preventing me from creating my Word Press blog – heh…
Ok – I’m currently at the POSSE SA workshop; it’s day 2 and the pressure is on (not to mention the confusion) – the pace is quick but the subject of teaching open source is fascinating. Many thanks to Jan Wildeboer, Mel Chua and Piero Papadeas for their excellent work and guidance so far. I’m typing this in a hurry as lunch is almost over and I only just got the blog up and working.
Later, and working with Git. Tutorials on Git seem a little confusing, but the Harvard Version is pretty clear.
Moving right along to OS contributions – translations in particular. Very interesting and not only because this is an area in which most of us could make some input. One becomes so accustomed to the prevalence of English (whether it be en_UK, en_US or en_ZA) that one forgets that most of the planet naturally prefers its own vernacular. It also makes it clear that everybody can make a contribution – no matter how small – and it will be useful in a wide context.