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Spotlight: On Developers and Technology

The International Discussions, I & II

Posted, 3/22/01

The most important issue dominating the "discuss" mailing list has unquestionably been the debate over the "internationalization" of OpenOffice.org; it is also the subject of this week's Open Views column. The term, "internationalization," does not mean here that OpenOffice.org should be international in its composition. It already is, with most of the developers located in Germany and support staff in the San Francisco Bay Area and Ireland. No: what the term refers to is making available elements (these are still being defined) of the project in languages other than English. The debate has been vigorous and is important. On the one hand, members argue that by allowing the creation of mailing lists and sections of the site in languages other than English (e.g., French), more developers who primarily communicate in those languages will want to join the community. Or, at the least, feel less intimidated about joining, for they will be able to communicate more easily. Opponents point out, however, that the project site might end up balkanized, with ultimately less and not more communication. The debate is ongoing. Interested readers can read the original messages on the discuss list archives, and if you wish to intervene in the debate, we welcome you. But to post a message, you must first subscribe to the mailing list, and doing so is easy.

 

Posted, 3/29/01

For the second week in a row, "internationalization" has dominated the "discuss" mailing list. It is also the subject of this week's "Community Article." The term refers to creating a version of the project's website and at least one mailing list in languages other than English. The debate has been vigorous and is important, with broad implications for Open Source. On the one hand, members argue that by allowing the creation of mailing lists and sections of the site in languages other than English (e.g., French), more developers who primarily communicate in those languages will want to join the community. Opponents point out, however, that there very might be less and not more communication. You can read the original messages on the discuss list archives, and if you wish to intervene in the debate, we welcome you.

 

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