Category Archives: Israeli Community

Open source @ Midburn, the Israeli burning man

This year I decided to participate in Midburn, the Israeli version of burning man. Whiling thinking of doing something different from my usual habit, I found myself with volunteering in the midburn IT department and getting a task to make it an open source project. Back into my comfort zone, while trying to escape it.

I found a community of volunteers from the Israeli high tech scene who work together for building the infrastructure for Midburn. In many ways, it’s already an open source community by the way it works. One critical and formal fact was lacking, and that’s the license for the code. After some discussion we decided on using Apache License 2.0 and I started the process of changing the license, taking it seriously, making sure it goes “by the rules”.

Our code is available on GitHub at And while it still need to be more tidy, I prefer the release early and often approach. The main idea we want to bring to the Burn infrastructure is using Spark as a database and have already began talking with parallel teams of other burn events. I’ll follow up on our technological agenda / vision. In the mean while, you are more than welcome to comment on the code or join one of the teams (e.g. volunteers module to organize who does which shift during the event).



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RTL status for Libre Office 3.5.0

As LibreOffice is approaching its final 3.5.0 release, I’d like to sum up the RTL status for RC1.

So far, 6 RTL related bugs were resolved in the 3.5 cycle (#32530, #34222, #40950, #43790#43793, #44078), and a few minor issues reported directly to the developer’s mailing list got quick responses. Most importantly, the new features of page break and header/footer not only support RTL but actually looks good. During the LibreOffice conference I was suggested to help with these features, providing feedback, and I’m glade the needed attention was given to it.

Besides that, a few l10n and translation issues were solved in the process of doing the Hebrew translation (which also reflects on other RTL languages). At a few cases, these issue because a general l10n issues which affects all the languages.

In general, I found the core developers responsive to mails about RTL support. I’m sure the talk about RTL problems during the conference helped, as well as being more active in the project and having more personal acquaintance with the developers.

That’s being said, RTL support for LibreOffice still has problems, which I hope will be pushed during the 3.5.x cycles (full list at Bug 43808, the rtl meta bug). As to get some focus regarding was is to be done, I’m listing the top problems:

  1. #44657 – RTL UI: Horizontal scrollbar in calc main window is broken
  2. #33302 – brackets inverted in rtl text (mac only)
  3. #37692 – RTL list numbering reverses its direction
  4. #42070 RTL support in broken in presenter Console extension
  5. #32531 Incorrect cursor key movement between table cells of different directionality
  6. #104515 RTL UI: moving active embedded object to the left moves it to the right (reported for, but verified in LibO)
  7. #37128 Writer saves text alignment of RTL paragraph not according to the ODF specification

I hoped to have the first two done for 3.5.0, but didn’t succeed in getting them fixed. Will keep trying…


Filed under i18n & l10n, Israeli Community, LibreOffice

The Mozilla Inn

Hello planet Mozilla. For my first post appearing in the planet I’d like to write about a recent community aspect I experienced, the rest will probably be more technical.

While we have some great volunteers participating in Mozilla, there’s aren’t any Mozilla representatives in Israel. To be exact, there are a few Israeli that do work for Mozilla (and I think they work from within Israel), but we don’t feel them in the local free software community.

I was very surprised to see 5 people from Mozilla attending Wikimania 2011, but this is of course a good surprise. I would have excepted to see representatives in a free software conference, but we still haven’t had any international free software conference in Israel (maybe some day I could bring Debconf here).

A week later I had another representative arriving for a free software conference I organized called August Penguin. This is the first time having someone arriving from abroad just for the local conference.

For me, a free software user and contributor, Mozilla is mostly a software project. Meeting the various representatives gave me the chance to know some of the other sides of the organization and its activities. For me that was really interesting and I think that it would be positive to do many of the activities also in Israel.

Besides the interest in the organization, I had the chance to host some of the representatives by showing them around, providing a place to crash at and making sure they stay after the conferences would be as easy and enjoyable as possible.

Reflecting back, my place would probably could be the Moziila Inn as I had 3 people from Mozilla as guests in one week (on separate days). For me that was fulfilling the community side of the term “free software community”, as we’re not only a technical community. Others might even call this an outreach program (a term I heard from all 3 guess in various contexts), but I’m still not sure who is outreaching to whom (:

So if you happen to work on Mozilla stuff, and arriving Israel, drop me a note…


Filed under Israeli Community, Mozilla

Linux 20th anniversary T-shirts

I’m organizing August Penguin, the yearly free software / open source conference in Israel for and by the community. We celebrate the 10th time we’re holding this conference. I started going to these conferences just after high school, later I got more and more involved and now this is my 2nd year of being the main organizer (with a few others who provide great help).

To celebrate the Linux 20th anniversary and August Penguins 10th anniversary, I thought to print copies of the Linux 20th anniversary T-shirts. I tired to contact the Linux Foundation to coordinate this, but got no response. I’m writing this post to ask for help with finding the people who can approve this printing in behalf of the Linux Foundation.

For those who can read Hebrew, the conference schedule is available at Hamakor’s wiki. The rest are welcome to read the English version (provided by Google translate, so not totally accurate).

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a very good day for bidi in

As a follow up on my report from last month about bidi status in 3.3, today was a very good day for bidi in The short story: two important bugs were fixed for 3.3, and we now have the bidi keyword for IssueZilla system.

It began with the fix to a cosmetic bug in the main screen which caused the icons to repaint improperly. While this isn’t critical at all, it just looks really bad to have it on the main screen. And I don’t want people to get the wrong impression. Thanks you Philipp Lohmann for fixing #97556.

Costmetic bug in RTL UI

Costmetic bug in RTL UI

The second bug was that AutoFilter isn’t working for RTL sheets (regards whether the UI is LTR or RTL). This issue was reported yesterday and got fixed in 24 hours. Thank you Niklas Nebel for fixing #114944. It took us longer to isolate the bug than to get a patch for it. I wish this will happen more (:

For closing, and in response to the bidi meta issue, a new keyword was created in the issuezilla: bidi. Till now, there was a bidi sub component in the UI, but this isn’t always helpful as sometimes it’s better to report against the actual component. The keyword will help us to better tag the issues for easy listing.

The thank you list is long, as there were more than a few people behind the scenes today. I’ll only mention Netanel, my partner to the Hebrew l10n team.


Filed under Israeli Community, LibreOffice,

Hebrew translation and Bidi issues in Openoffice 3.3 (beta)

In the last few years the Israeli government founded some work on by Tk Open Systems Ltd. During the years, the work has resulted with an “Israeli version”, released after the official release and includes a lot of patches to improve support for Bidi and Hebrew specifically. Although most patches were submitted to the “hamburg”, a lot of them weren’t used and are still waiting for inclusion.

The funding the that projects stopped a year ago (9/2009), and the last release of the Israeli version is 3.1.1. Since then we had a quiet period in which 3.2 and 3.2.1 were released. While still enjoying the fruits of the projects in these version, it seems that it’s time for the community to take over, as we lost hopes for yet another funds from the government.

In may Netanel and I started talking about taking over the Hebrew translation, and in June we got Hebrew added to the pootle server. We started with about 80%, and got to 86% in time to get to the list of languages getting a language pack built for. This was a first achievement as Hebrew didn’t have a language pack since early on the 2.x versions. I believe that working as part of the l10n group and with release schedule will only benefit for the Hebrew translation process.

We used the language pack to test the translation and improve it. We also were able to get to 89% with the help of more volunteers.I believe it’s now much more consistent than before. In the process with manually checked Writer thoroughly, while Calc and Impress got less attention due to the time frame. But we fixed some major translation issues in all of the three components.

While testing the translation we also started to report Bidi issues we saw in 3.3 beta, hoping they will be fixed for the final release. For example, the main screen on windows has is getting repainted wrongly when moving the mouse over the options (text, spreadsheet..). This looks very badly as this is the main screen! See issue #97556 for details main screen in RTL UI

In RTL UI the main screen doesn't get repaited properly.

In addition to report new issues, we also started to keep track of the already opened issues regarding Bidi and Hebrew. I’m following the issue system for a few years now, but seeing the list of issues organized in the wiki gave me a better orientation in the problems we have. E.g. finding some related or similar issues and mention each other in the comments, when someone goes to first one, he could also fixed the other as the problem is similar and probably comes from the same code.

Organizing also the already closed bugs in 3.x, gave me a some kind of a changelog for the Bidi and Hebrew related issues. In that manner, version 3.1 was a very good for Bidi, thanks for a lot of efforts and work with the Bidi meta issue #79434. The wiki page is in Hebrew, but looks quite OK with Google translate (see here).

Hoping to have 3.4 a major release (Bidi wise), I’ve opened issue #114236 as another meta issue for Bidi related issues. I’ve kept Hebrew specific issues out, as to get it more general and also relevant for Bidi users in other languages. Any help of those issues will be more than welcome (starting with votes and ending with patches).


Filed under i18n & l10n, Israeli Community,

Israeli projects for improvement of government services go open source

In an business open source conference held today (June 10th) in Tel Aviv, Michael Eitan, Minister of Improvement of Government Services, said that projects under his responsibility will go open source to improve transparency. More info at TheMarker (in Hebrew, English version by Google translate). A pilot with a focus group should begin soon for testing the changes.

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