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General questions about foreign communities and PAM future

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pyg
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General questions about foreign communities and PAM future

First note : not sure this is the better forum to post in, so feel free to move my message.
Second note : please excuse my english (damn frenchs people, always sleeping in english courses Blum )

Hello world,
I'm Pierre-Yves, from Framakey Community.
Shortly, Framakey is a french-only "clone" or "fork" of portableApps. We used to (and still use) some PA launcher code (thanks again to all team !), but we launche in summer 2005 our own PAM (called Framakiosk, and based on a modified Firefox profile). Framakey pack has been downloaded officialy > 500 000 times, but officiously more than 3 000 000 times (thanks to some City Halls that distribute freely more than 200 000 Framakeys each year freely to students for a couple of years). Our support forum has more than 13 000 msg.

That's quite a success, and we always credits PA.com (and especially John) for that.

Today, I had a conversation with MarkoMLM : https://portableapps.com/node/16395#comment-101840
about OOo Portable in french. I recommend you reading this posts before continnuing.

Done ? Thanks

Today, PA.com is not very suitable for french (and maybe other foreign) users, mostly because the main language used is english (please don't laugh at me, imagine that your aunt Jackie must read download softwares on Turkish websites).
The other reason is that our own PAM (Framakiosk) was really easy to use (but less to adapt, even with HTML and CSS only) to newbies.

So I have some questions (maybe answered elsewhere, but didn't found despite my searches) :
- Does PA.com team displays some rules (or forums) for foreign users ?
- how does the translation process work ?
- do you have plans to have part of website in foreign language ? Do you mind if other countries make "forks" - of course GPL and conserving credits to PA.com - with their own specificities (that's not all about language, but also culture and habits) ?
- do you specificaly need help for french ?

That's for the questions around localized (agin, not only "translated") versions.

Now, about PAM.
- what's the roadmap for PAM (I saw PAM Mod, but it's unofficial and quite instable for me) ?
- do you have plans to automate the process of finding and downloading apps (like in Synaptic or adept package manager, see post above) ?
- does anybody working on it ?
- are you interested in ?

The point is : I, as framakey maintainer, would be happy to help and participate. But language is quite a wall between us (or mostly between our users), maybe we could bring something into PA.com (as we do in example with "Cafe" application, wich was a framakey apps before becoming "Expresso", with translation and testings, etc). And PA.com accept with benevolence that some foreign forks lives on their own.

Not sure how it could work (or if it could) but the most beautifull thing with open-source is that anybody is free to work on his own idea of what's the best fit for his users.

So I open the door and wait to see if someone is interested...

Thanks for reading

PY

John T. Haller
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Welcome Pierre-Yves

First off, welcome to our community, Pierre-Yves. Or rather, let me re-welcome you Smile

As for language support, we've been making strides in that area over the past year. Let me start off with the apps. You've probably noticed that Firefox, Thunderbird and Sunbird are available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Simplified Chinese. We'll be ramping that up to include just about every language that Mozilla supports over the next couple months now that our build process has been automated. OpenOffice.org Portable is also available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Simplified Chinese. And we plan to continue working on the other languages that OpenOffice.org supports as well. The other apps we make available, most are multilingual covering our core set of 6 supported languages as well as others.

On the Platform side, we currently support 33 languages built-in and we'll be adding a few more that have been submitted to later releases.

The one sticking point with the multilingual apps and the platform is the installer and the launchers as they are currently in English. With Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird and OpenOffice.org, we bundle only one language, so we set the launcher and installer to English. But they don't support multiple languages yet, so they're set to English for the other apps (which makes sense since most of our users speak English). That will be changing in the near future as the final release of the PortableApps.com Installer will support multiple languages which you can select at installer compile time. The launchers will do the same.

As for languages on the website, we were awaiting the Drupal 6 upgrade (our content management system) before even fully exploring it due to shortcomings in Durpal 5's multilingual support. With Drupal 6 and a few modules that I have in testing, it looks like we'll be able to support as many languages as we'd like. We started some work on it the old way with our German site as well as our German support forum. You'll find translations of most pages on it from Simeon and Marko. It's imperfect, though, as you'll note that it doesn't include the websites interface. We'll be able to do that shortly, too. But I didn't want to start rolling more languages out until we finalize it so that when we start welcoming our French users, for instance, they can get the whole site, interface, signup in their native tongue and be able to get French support in the forums. Once we're there, we'll be adding translators for each language who will have permission to edit the translation pages just like Marko and Simeon can for the German pages. We'd love to have you on board for that, if you're interested.

The roadmap for PAM... which we now call the PortableApps.com Platform... has been a bit slow to unfold. A number of things are being added, but I haven't made any roadmap public because I always get yelled at when I miss it. Smile But I'm finally to a point where I'll be making the first test release available. I should have Alpha 1 up by end of the day on Monday. Not all the features are live yet but, when complete, the next release includes all the expected features (rename, hide, move to top/bottom, categorize, autorun, eject that closes apps running, customizable folders, etc) as well as a built-in updater for the apps and platform and a few other handy features. The ability to browse and add apps ala Synaptic/Adept will be coming but may not make it to this release as we still need to hash out how to handle multiple languages for download descriptions, screenshots, etc.

As for forks, that can become a good or a bad thing and has been both. A number of sites have made modifications to our software and redistributed it following the GPL, which is just fine. A number of sites have also made modifications to our packages like Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition and redistributed them, which is an issue as our licensing agreement with Mozilla does not extend to 3rd parties, so they're currently violating Mozilla's trademarks (3rd parties can, of course, redistribute our unaltered binary installers or completely modify it all to remove Mozilla's trademarks... just like regular Mozilla Firefox). Some other sites have actually redistributed our work and stripped off our code, copyright and trademark, which is, of course, a violation of the GPL (I'm still debating what to do about that). Some others have modified our packages and kept our name intact but the packages have had issues and folks have come here looking for help.

I also wanted to address something you'd brought up in the other topic. That of PortableApps.com staying free. One of the reasons I've licensed all my own original work under the GPL is that I'm a big believer in open source. I think PortableApps.com has been a great way to promote open source to a whole new set of users. But I'm also practical. I realize that closed source (whether paid or free) also fills needs for millions of people that open source hasn't. That's why I'm going to keep the Platform GPL but allow exceptions in certain instances. For example, the hardware company that has an encryption chip on their drive and the code to access it is closed and licensed from a 3rd party. Do we want to say open source it or go away and have them go to a U3 or a Microsoft or bundle yet another closed portable solution and have another drive with an open source-hostile platform on it? Or do we allow an exception for their bundle and keep the platform open but allow it to work with their system?

The same applies to the installer, which I've also written and released under the GPL. Do we say open source your app or go away? Or do we say yes, you can use it for your GPL-incompatible open source app, your freeware app and your payware app so that we can encourage all of those to be a part of an open platform?

So, the answer, in my opinion, is that we keep it open source (under the GPL when possible) but allow it to be used in some non-open source ways. This maximizes who can use it and benefit from it without limiting the open nature of it. I want to ensure a few things, personally... that it remains open source, that it always remains free for users and can't suddenly disappear the way freeware can and that it's around for a good long time to do many things (act as a central resource, help highlight deserving open source software, help fund future development of the platform and the apps as well as open source software in general, etc) and, ultimately, help make people's lives easier/better in some small way.

I guess the end answer to all your questions is that, yes, we'd love to have you more involved. As a French translator for the site, for the apps, as a developer of apps, as a developer for the platform, as a moderator in the French forum or whatever else that would fit.

Kind Regards,
John

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Steve Lamerton
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Hurah!

This is all excellent news John, perhaps you should post some of this post as an update.

All I can really add is that I think the more translations we get the better and that if people are interested at looking at a multilingual install then Toucan has one for 8 or so languages at the moment, I can only assume that this is how the rest of them will be in the future.

And welcome Pierre-Yves to the community, I am sure I speak for all our users here when I say that you are truely welcome here, together hopefully we can allow our software to reach even more users in more parts of the world.

BrianAll
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I second that -

this is great news John.
I noticed eXpresso got mentioned here - when I finally get it out, eXpresso is going to fully support localization, with a multilingual installer and translations.

Pierre-Yves, you are very welcome here at Portableapps.com. Smile

pyg
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Thanks for the warm welcome :)

First, thx everbody for the warm welcome Smile
Second, thx John for your answer, wich ligthen me on many aspects of PA project.

Next, let's start to see what we could to together. (please excuse my telegraphic style, but it's easier for me to be less formal)

1. I admit that Framakey is a really small community in comparaison with PA. But something I haven't mentionned is that she's supported by a larger community called Framasoft, wich aims the dissemination and the promotion of the Free culture in general and of Free softwares specifically.
2. I recognize the really great work done here, and that this work really helped us by providing great quality launchers under GPL
3. I'm now reassured on PA guidelines and future (and I totally approved John "realistic" viewpoint).

To not be ambiguous, I love my small community, and I don't won't to see her to be "dissolved" in PA.com (even with all that great people inside). I know that nobody asked for that, but I just wanted to be clear that my message was not a "oh, you're great guys, so I'll throw away 3 years of community building" Smile

So I was asking myself (and asked some community members) how we could help portableapps to develop and promote portable FLOSS (wich is our goal too), without hurting our own day-by-day work.

I think the first (and most logical) step is by providing what you can't provide easily : localization, locales testing, translations, and promotion inside our own countries (and all french speaking countries).
Once again, I make a difference between simple translations, and localization. It would be a mistake, I think, that making PA website clones with just translations would be sufficient. It's not just a matter of language, it's also a matter of culture. That's why I think that just opening "french forums" (or italians or germans ones) may not be the most efficient way to promote portableApps.
Let me be clear : I don't have any solutions Beee (and maybe the last one is the "less worse") to answer these issues.

So first, I promise I would look at this forum way more often to see how I could help. Especially in translating launchers and Platform to french. (you may also send me a mail to pyg at framasoft d0t net, or pointing me to a mailing list if there is one)

Second, I will relay beta-testing announces to Framakey community (sure we will be pleased to test some new portable apps).

Third, I'll do my best to emphasize how Framakey his grateful to portableApps.com. All GPL code was stricly respected, but we used to change the PA splascreen to a Framakey splashscreen if we made some changes to launcher). Would you accept a "Made by portableApps.com, adapted by Framakey splashcreen" for french-only apps distributed by Framakey.org ? (of course, on PA.com, you would keep your splash). That because, really, the .paf.exe format is not really great for our users, they just prefer .zip files. And for multilingual applications, it IS important that the apps start in local language, and not to force the user to search by a sub-sub-menu to change the language.

Could we start with this, and see therefore if we should go further ?
(as a drupal admin, I may say that even in v6, localization is a real mess. It's great if you have a few presentation pages to translate, but for a whole community website...)

Hope this message doesn't sound harsh after the warm welcome you gave me, it's just that now I would see how and what we could bring each other (and if it doesn't work, that's not so bad, because everything we produce on both side of the river is truely open-source. The important question is "how could we build a smart bridge ?")

cheers,
PY

Aciago
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none of my bussines but...

I know this have nothing to do with me, since I'm just a user and use to help translating sometimes a couple of apps on requests but...

I'm sad since somebody said that apps are translated in all major languages and mention just 6 and forget about Spanish which is the official language in 26 countries (totalizing more than 300 millions people)... Sad ...that is a lot more than German, French and Italian... together... Wink (joking)

ok, seriously now... I understand Pierre-Yves comment about cultures in the website, but having a Turkish forum (for example) is a beginning, then the growing of the specific language community will decide if an entire website is needed, don't you think?

And about the localization and those sub sub menus... some Apps (like Filezilla) just start opening in the same system's language... Is it hard to code the platform to do the same? I mean, if my OS is in Zulu, then the platform starts in Zulu and install the Apps in Zulu unless I set the option for a different language... of course keeping English as the default language in those systems that are not _yet_ fully implemented...

And about the localization of Apps, teach us (step by step for dummies) how to open the installer, install the language and recompile it (without actually installing in our systems), and I'm sure you'll have a rain of localized apps in few time... I know it because I'll like to do it with OOo, Thunderbird, NVU/Kompozer and Firefox in Spanish... Blum ...I just don't do it because the only thing I know how to do is replace the App folder with the one in Spanish (installing in my system) and then ziping... which will damage the license in Firefox which will not appear on install then...

uh! and Pierre-Yves, I use and recommend some of your framakey apps Yes, they are in French but those I use also have English and even an option for language change I just delete the kiosk folder after install Wink

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and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
and the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report Biggrin

LOGAN-Portable
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Although I sorta like the

Although I sorta like the Menu and Apps starting up in the language of the system you use it on, I see obvious drawbacks to this functionality. PortableApps.com applications are meant to have your apps with you on the road. While the most people will use it on one single language system, I like to think of people who travel abroad and use their PortableApps.com applications on other language computers without the menu and apps suddenly start up in some foreign language. For example someone from the UK visits Japan. Having the menu and apps start up in Japanese will probably confuse the heck out of the user and even if he could find the English language parameter, each PC would start the apps in a language he does not desire. Closer to home example is that in many countries people use native language while others prefer to use English Windows. Some countries go as far that they run Windows in some local dialect even (Frysian comes to mind).

So while auto select the language based on the host PC sounds useful I strongly suggest user selected languages through the menu and applications, and staying at the set default unless they are changed by the user.

As for multilingual support for the launchers / installers. I sortof understand it in the case of the installer but less for the launcher. While it might be usefull to have the launcher support xx languages would it not make the launcher unnecessary big? For the Installer it's less of an issue I guess. Maybe the launchers should read different translations (if needed) from the PortableApps menu folder so the menu itself would support all different launchers languages and if needed the list can be expanded without the need to re-compile all launchers for all apps. And if language can't be found or is missing it should default to the internal default of English.

Just my 2 Euro cents.

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