Category Archives: Israeli Community

Hebrew translation and Bidi issues in Openoffice 3.3 (beta)

In the last few years the Israeli government founded some work on openoffice.org 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 openoffice.org 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 openoffice.org l10n group and with openoffice.org 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 openoffice.org 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

Openoffice.org 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).

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Filed under i18n & l10n, Israeli Community, Openoffice.org

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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Filed under Israeli Community

Hamakor, the Israeli Free Software Society, calls for the annulment of Software Patents

Following a call for submissions from the Israeli Patent Authority, the Israeli Free Software Society, Hamakor, submitted a memorandum calling for the annulment of the Software Patents. A Memorandum drafted by Adv. Jonathan J. Klinger, Hamakor’s chief legal counsel, presented a tough and strict approach claiming that software patents harm innovation and incur high legal costs on software developers.

“protecting software through patents shall provide protection on ideas, which are usually expressible in more than one manner, and shall be the beginning to a race to the bottom where every person shall register as many patents possible and incur high costs on each player in the software field”, said Klinger, and added that “the chilling effect created by the fear of using software protected by patents, be it free software or proprietary software, and incur costs on the system solely in order to purchase insurance from the theoretical patent infringement. In such case, any independent development of software without legal assistance from the first day of development shall be problematic, and deter developers from developing free software or promote innovation”.

Until recently, the Israeli patent authority rejected Software Patents and provided protection only regarding hardware (in re Eli Tamir). However, the recent call for submissions had raised the fear that software patents shall be used to deter innovation.

Currently, Israeli venture capital funds and technology evangelists often see patents as the core asset when protecting software companies from competition, which creates a race to the bottom that requires startups and innovative companies to register patents in order to raise funds. Hamakor presents, in its memorandum, a new approach focusing on people and not patents, as the core asset of the Israeli Innovation.

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Filed under Israeli Community, Software Patents

congratulations to the Hebrew wikipedia for having 100,000 entries

On January 10th the Hebrew wikipedia got its 100,000th entry. The event will be celebrated on the coming weekend by a members meeting.

This achievement is quite remarkable for a language with less than 10 million speakers, from which about 3.5 million are native speakers (data taken from the Hebrew wikipedia).

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Filed under Israeli Community, Wikipedia

My wishes for the new year

  • Time to start working again on my Debian packages.
  • To succeed with inserting free software to the Israeli Education system.
  • To make a step forward with free software in Israel though Hamakor
  • To visit DebConf in August (missed the last two conferences).

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Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, Israeli Community

Mozilla Israel stand @ August Penguin 2009

As part of August Penguin 2009, Mozilla Israel members Tomer Cohen and Tsahi Asher had a stand for promoting Firefox, web standards and other free software from Mozilla.

Mozilla Israel stand @ August Penguin 2009

Mozilla Israel stand @ August Penguin 2009

The stand was crowded during most of the conference with people coming to talk or ask questions. The visitors enjoyed getting Firefox stickers/pins and web standards bracelets thanks to a shipment of the giveaways from abroad.

The party hats were used to make the August Penguin key signing party to look like a party (:

August Penguin Key Signing Party

August Penguin 2009 Key Party

I’ll be happy to see more support for the local Israeli chapter of other projects, so we could have more stands like that in the next August Penguin.

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Filed under Israeli Community, Mozilla, Proud to use free software

How to make an open source kindergarten

If you can read Hebrew, you’ll find the original story at “איך עושים גן בקוד פתוח“. Otherwise, you’re welcome to read the post.

Vitali Perchonok was asked to check the computer is his city of Kiryat Gat, he found a lot of old PCs (P1 and P2) with windows 98 and DOS games that don’t work. He decided to find a way to use the computers with open source software.

He found that he can run Gcompris, an educational software suite comprising of numerous activities for children aged 2 to 10, on the old computers. Now he just needs to update the Hebrew translation (last updated at 2005). Along side the translation he fixed bugs, recorded new sounds and replaced some of the graphics (all with the help of a few friends).

To wrap it all, he decided to create a liveCD for the program, and this was the beginning of KG-Live. The changes were sent upstream and should be included in the next release.

Today, the project waits for approval from the Israeli Ministry of Education, before distributing the software officially to the kindergartens.

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Filed under Free software applications, i18n & l10n, Israeli Community, Proud to use free software