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Localising Linux

December 6th, 2003 · No Comments

The Economist writes that one of the opportunities for Linux and open-source software to make inroads on the desktop could be to provide support for the plethora of languages that are there in the world:

Open-source software has particular appeal in developing countries. In China, South Korea, India, Brazil and other countries, governments are promoting the use of such software which, unlike the proprietary kind, allows users to inspect, modify and freely redistribute its underlying programming instructions. The open-source approach has a number of attractions. Adopting open-source software can reduce costs, allay security concerns and ensure there is no danger of becoming too dependent on a foreign supplier. But there is another benefit, too: because it can be freely modified, open-source software is also easier to translate, or localise, for use in a particular language. This involves translating the menus, dialogue boxes, help files, templates and message strings to create a new version of the software.

The leading desktop interfaces for the open-source Linux operating systemKDE and GNOMEare, between them, available in more than twice as many languages as Windows. KDE has already been localised for 42 languages, with a further 46 in the pipeline. Similarly, Mozilla, an open-source web browser, now speaks 65 languages, with 34 more to follow. OpenOffice, the leading open-source office suite, is available in 31 languages, including Slovenian, Basque and Galician, and Indian languages such as Gujarati, Devanagari, Kannada and Malayalam. And another 44 languages including Icelandic, Lao, Latvian, Welsh and Yiddish are on the way.

We support the IndLinux project in India, which is making its own efforts on this front.

Tags: Software

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