Posts Tagged Trinity College

Internationalization and Localization of POSIT Haiti

A peak into localization by Chris N. who worked on the POSIT-Haiti code base:

Being able to display the app in multiple languages was essential for the project, due to the developers being native English speakers and the end users speaking French and Haitian Creole. I localized the mobile side of the app. There are hundreds of strings that appear in the display of the app, each of which needed to be internationalized and then localized. After the strings were translated and organized into xml files, they were then tested. A number of bugs appeared as a result of being able to change the language. Multiple strings needed to be abstracted out of the code. In addition, menu and dialog boxes needed to be reinitialized so that the newly changed language would display properly.

There was a great deal of difficulty keeping the character encoding consistent between Linux and Apple machines, which use different codes for special characters (such as the é character). This coding issue made it difficult to create non-conflicting translation patches that can work on both Linux and Macintosh computers. In addition, the patches often had to be tested for conflicts before being applied to the most recent repositories, due to the localization process’s nature of touching all the files in the app. It also became necessary to abstract the options end users select in data entry forms from the strings those forms store in the database, since otherwise the data queries would not be able to identify data submitted in one language and retrieved in another.

The localization process was difficult, but enjoyable. Users are able to toggle the display language between English, French, and Haitian Creole without exiting the app. Furthermore, the app is set up so that additional languages can be implemented quickly and easily.

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Richard Stallman’s Talk on Free Software: Hosted by HFOSS

On Tuesday June 17, 2008 Richard Stallman, the founder of GNU and the “father” of the Free Software Movement presented a talk on Free Software in front of a audience of about 100 at Trinity College. Mr. Stallman used personal information, humor, factual evidence, hair twirling, and pill popping to engage the audience in his opinion on free software, proprietary software, and the purpose of the Free Software Movement. He discussed the four freedoms of software all while differentiating the use of proprietary software and free software based on the different freedoms.

In the attempt to inform the audience of what proprietary software is all about Mr. Stallman introduced some properties that Windows contain that decrease the actual privacy and or freedom of the actual user. He stressed that the Window’s operating system is not the the only system (i.e MacOS) that consists of features that invade the user’s privacy and freedom. Overall, Mr. Stallman’s opinion is that the user should have the freedom to view the source of the software he or she is using. If the user does not have this freedom, the software being used is not considered “free”.

He ended the talk by donning his Saint iGNUsius garb of the Church of Emacs and blessing the entire audience after explaining that HFOSS (Humanitarian Free Open Source Software) should be renamed to FLOSS(Free/Libre Open Source Software). Here he is with his halo that he states is not a computer disk:

You can see more photos of the lecture @ http://summer.hfoss.org.

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