Celebrating the Software Freedom Day

Community to Community

Software Freedom Day in Andhra Pradesh is being celebrated on 28th of September. About 1000 programmers will work from different geographical locations to localise the applications in GNU/Linux to Telugu. This sprint is unique and first of its kind in the world where a huge number of passionate programmers will work on porting the GNU/Linux applications into Telugu. The slogan, "from the community to the community", is the spirit of this sprint.

Students from different engineering colleges, people working in the IT industry in India and abroad, school teachers, people from the media and from different sections of the society will participate to make the software available to the people in Andhra Pradesh.

The advent and growth of Internet is transforming the world into a global village. The Internet users of the world in 1998 was 2.49% which has increased by nearly 6 times to 16% in 2005. In India this growth is visible in the form of an increase from 0.1% to 4.5% in the same period. This shows a thrust towards the Internet usage in the Indian population. If we count this population in terms of the % of the world it is just 4.9%. Where as Japan and China are ahead with 8.3% and 11.8% respectively. This phenomenon is due to the existing language support in their languages. If we look at the web content by language, Japanese content is 5.9% and Chinese content is 3.9%. This content is effectively increasing every year.

The overall Internet content of non-english languages is 31.6% (excluding Indian language content) of entire web content available. The web population of non-english languages is 64.2%. The phenomenon world over is towards the increase of the local language content in the Internet. As of now the Internet content available in Indian languages is very minimal. However the existing minimal local language content on the web can be attributed to that provided by the online news papers. To have the local language content available in the Internet and communities contribution to it, the basic requirement is the availability of tools to generate it. Having an operating system completely in Telugu Language will enable the growth of this content in leaps and bounds.

FSFI AP team is responsible for starting the localisation of GNU/Linux (Free Software operating system) in Telugu. A localised CD comprising of the basic applications was released by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in February 2005. The Ministry of Information Technology has released a CD with localised softwares of which the entire office suite, web browsers, mail clients and messenging services were localised by FSFI AP Chapter. Recent additions to the list are the availability of an online dictionary. This dictionary can be used by anyone who has an Internet connectivity. The text-to-speech has been included in the latest release. Through this application the computer will read out the Telugu text to the user.

Free Software Foundation of India strives to ensure that software is embedded with the freedom of using the software for any purpose, modifying the software for ones own requirements, developing it and redistributing it. The thrust area of the activity of FSF India is to develop computing in local languages. FSFI AP Chapter has been striving hard to ensure that software for computers is available in local languages.

The specific target is to transform the complete GNOME desktop and surrounding applications. This activity is unique of its kind and is being held first time in the world, where 1000 programmers from different geographical locations(all corners of the world) will be transforming 50,000 lines of code into Telugu. This will commemorate the availability of a complete computer desktop in Telugu. The necessary technology support has already been developed by FSFI AP Chapter. The complete work is scheduled to be released on the AP Formation Day.

Enthusiasts are invited to participate by sending mailer requests to localisation at swecha dot org