Wednesday, January 27, 2016

LibreOffice India First Meetup - A Big Small Step!

It was a historical meetup of LibreOffice Community in India indeed! It was the first LibreOffice meetup in India. We ideated for starting LibreOffice activities in India during my Red Hat days. Last year, few of us participated in LibreOffice Conference, Aarhus, Denmark. We saw the level of real volunteer participation from all over the world for LibreOffice and no doubt several of us were inspired much. I discussed with Chandrakant and decided that it is already late and we should start as soon as possible on our own level. And this small meetup is the output of what we discussed. We have planned for much more in this year.

A successful meetup - almost twenty people participated in the meetup. We decied to do it on Sunday 17 January and SocialCops came forward to help us by hosting it in its beautiful office situated at Saket area. The most important achievement of the meetup was to get contributors for Garhwali and Angika languages for LibreOffice. It is important to know that both these languages are specified as endangered languages on the UNESCO language atlas. The native Garhwali speaker Kusum Rawat filed the bug at glibc for Garhwali language by adding locale file for the language.

Professor of Indian Institute of Mass Communication Hemant Joshi was excited to see the development in the language front and he said that digital presence of these languages will be able to enpower them. He add that these types of work has far reaching impact. He told that he will help to start the work in kumaoni language.Chandan, of Red Hat, came from Pune to partcipate in the meetup and we started the meetup with his
presentation. He discussed in detail about the LibreOffice Android version and LibreOffice online. Trishul Goel, of Merination, talked about the contribution in the field of technical verticals of LIbreOffice. Chandan showed about how to work on Pootle as well.

Nishant and Neha, volunteers working for FUEL Project, showed the new website design to the audience present. FUEL Project, a project working for creating standard linguistic resources, is supporting LibreOffice in India.

At the end of the meetup, before the open discussion, I talked about the present condition of LibreOffice in India and discussed how we are planning to do year long activities in India. I am excited. We are getting good response as well. Chandrakant has created a meetup group for LibreOffice India. We have Facebook group as well with LibreIndia name.

We were 20 today, hope to be 200 in another six months and 2000 in another two years. And offcourse your support is essential.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Call for Presentation Proposals for FUEL GILT Conference 2015!

FUEL GILT Conference is one of the largest events of FOSS language technology - Its challenges, solutions, best practices and its conventions. Due to some unavoidable reasons, we are a bit late in announcing CFP.  We apologize for the same. We are late, but this time we have grand plan to celebrate the presence of our languages on new technology platform.

Yes, we have a grand plan! Total three days for the event : 20,21 and 22 Nov 2015. So, save these  dates on your calender! The host for the event and venue is - Tamil Virtual Academy (Erstwhile Tamil Virtual University), Anna University Campus, Gandhi Mandapam Road, Kottur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Thank you TVA. 

We are happy that, this time Mozilla Localisation Hackathon is being organised as a part of FUEL Gilt Conference 2015. We have FUEL Gilt Conference on 20th Nov and Mozilla l10n Hackthon on 21-22 Nov.However, the localization hackathon is open to the invited members only. If you are one of the localizers contributing to Mozilla, you may contact your locale leader to know more about it. This year Mozilla Corporation, Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC), Pune and Red Hat are the main organizers of the Conference. The event is being hosted at Tamil Virtual Academy and supported by Free Software Foundation Tamil Nadu. Thank you all for helping hand. 

Call for Presentation Proposal is open till Oct 31, 2015. Please send your proposal in required format mentioned on the page:

FUEL is growing only because of the support of volunteer communities world-wide and several well known organizations! The power of the event is the power of collaboration, the power of sharing, the power of volunteerism! Currently, More than 60 language communities are working with the FUEL Project. Since 2008, FUEL Project is consistently working with the different language communities to provide standard linguistic resources eg. Terminologies, style guides, assessment methods etc. to the world.Like last year, please collaborate and cooperate to make the event a huge success!

For more details, please visit:

Friday, May 1, 2015

W3C India - A Road Ahead

On 22nd of April 2015, I got an opportunity to attend W3C India Community Meet-up held in the CDAC office based in Mumbai. People from all over India and of different domains came Mumbai to participate in the event. Organised by W3C India, the event was of interactive in nature. The whole day event was divided in two parts - the first one was concentrated on 'Digital Publishing in India - Next Steps’. 'Web Payments landscape in India’ was the topic for second session. In the CDAC’s Juhu based beautiful office, the event was very much engaging and interactive.

The country manager of W3C India, Mahesh Kulkarni welcomed the participant and briefly discussed about the whole day agenda. Executive Director, C-DAC, Mumbai, Dr. Zia Saquib gave the opening remark and said that the meet-up is very important for future. Priyanka M. Rawal, Business Development Lead, W3C India, gave introduction about W3C and shared W3C India activities with the audience. The CDAC team discussed about the Digital Publishing Community Group. After a good lunch, Global Business Development Leader, W3C, Alan Bird gave keynote address via Skype and shared broader picture of W3C and said that why it very important to participate and be active with W3C activities. In the after lunch session, the team of National Payments Corporation of India also presented and demonstrated about the work of web payment standardization with respect to India.

The most important aspect of the whole day event was the way it was conducted. The entire meet-up was very open and transparent in nature and participation of audience was awesome. CEO of National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) Dr Govind was also present. During the open discussion, he also shared his views and said that it is very important for Indian to participate in such activities and we should be proactive so that we should not lag behind from the rest of the world in the field of information and communication technology field. Pavanaja U B of CIS raised some queries about the development of last one year. Lot of participants were from publication domain and they discussed in detail about the challenges of e-publication. Mahesh Kulkarni gave vote of thanks. A great event. Thank you W3C India for inviting me.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mozilla Angika Meetup @ Bhagalpur, Bihar - A Report

I am overwhelmed with the success of the event and to see the love of the people for Angika and how they are excited to know that Angika is going to be present with one of the languages in which Firefox is present. UNESCO says that Angika is endangered but now I am convinced that Angika cannot be an endangered language. How a language - a real Lok-Bhasha - can be endangered?

Mozilla Angika - A workshop ( pix courtesy - Disha)

The language community is dedicated and no doubt we will be able to come with Mozilla Firefox browser for desktop as well as Android soon with the support of the community. Thank you Anga Pradesh for such a great support!

Organized by Mozilla, the event was supported by several organizations - Disha Gramin Vikas Manch, Sanskriti, Bhasha Ghar and FUEL Project. Several well know persons of Angika language were present - Dr. Amrendra, Mukutdhari Agarwal, Manoj Pandey, Dr. Jayant Jalad, Dr Anand Jha, Dr Vijay Mishra, Dr Sambe, SK Mathur, Ulupi Jha, Dr Satyananda, Manoj Pandit, Abhay Bharti, Bachhu Chaudhari, Brajraj Kumar, Arfeen Parwej, Rakesh Roshan to name a few!

We discussed with the crowd all about what we are going to do and what benefit the language will get when we will release Firefox for desktop as well for Android in Angika. We discussed about the terminology of Angika started under the FUEL Project initiative. The community, however small, is already gathered around to support the cause and to release Firefox in Angika also. Language preservation is one of Mozilla's goal and we are happy to do something concrete in this direction.

The press has generously covered the event. Five newspaper and radio station covered the event. Here are some:

A very special thanks to Mukutdhari jee, Amrendra jee, Manoj Pandey jee, Raj Kumar jee! Thanks a ton to Mozilla for supporting the language.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Show us the sex of the code, colour of the code!

It is always a very surprising fact for me what benefits are there for a FOSS organizations to claim to be a meritocratic. GNOME is a Meritocracy! I understand the 'intention' but what is the benefit of claiming it? So, Apache, Mozilla and Document Foundation also claim along with many others. The list is long. Are you afraid of proprietary world that they will mock at you? Declaring oneself as the 'best' is not a good idea for anybody and specially for free and open source believers. What is best? What is merit? Who is measuring the merit? Show us the code! Okay. I can see some similar nature of project, FOSS based project, both are meritocratic but in one project one region is dominating while in other different region. If the pool of talent is based on meritocratic judgement, then how geography can decide who will lead. Meritocracy is an outdated myth. Also, it is loaded with lot of negative connotations. I am giving examples here just to put some examples, nothing more. I love these projects a lot and I contribute in huge way.

Typical meritocracy can only be generated in a society that has high degree of equality. So if one wants typical meritocracy, s/he should first work to establish equality. But the meritocracy is based on the principle of social inequality, so how equality can be created. This is a great paradox. And so ideally it is impossible to achieve. The existing society based on meritocracy leads to inequality. Meritocracy is based on survival of the fittest. Meritocracy leads towards monopolization. The social distance created by the ideology between the so-called meritorious and so-called non-meritorious of the system is huge and it distracts people from participation and collaboration. So it will be good for free and open source to leave this negative virtue as soon as possible. Therefore, write on the t-shirt - Show us the sex of the code, colour of the code! Unconscious bias and stereotypes are barriers in the path of different sex and colors to coexist simultaneously in coding (or documentation, or translations, or leadership, or webmastering...) domain.

Technically also, free and open Source organization should not be believing on meritocracy. It is the diversity that should drive FOSS because FOSS believes on the choice. FOSS is against monopolization. Forbes says in its Global Diversity and Inclusion report that a diverse and inclusive workforce is critical for success. The report says that the best way to ensure the development of new ideas is through a diverse and inclusive workforce. Not only in present time, people were understanding the importance of diversity and inclusion in medieval age also. There is a questions for the children of 7th standard in History textbook of India - "Why was it important for the Mughals to recruit 'mansabdars' (an official post) from diverse backgrounds and not just Turanis and Iranis?" The diversity and inclusion policy made Mughal successful in creating one of the largest Empire of History that was ruling almost whole Indian sub-continent. The example is not cited in favour of creating a monopolistic 'Empire' but certainly it tells that the importance of diversity and inclusion was even recognized by rulers of the medieval history. Research shows that organizations with stronger diversity benefit in numerous ways - more innovative, more effective, and more profitable.

In most of the areas of life we need optimization instead of maximization or say minimization, where people prefer optimum result rather than the best result. If you pull a guitar string too tight, it will snap. If you let it out too loose, it will make no noise. Only medium tensions allow the guitar to work. Often people tend to see diversity as a killer of meritocracy. This is not true at all. The diversity expands the talent pool. Actually diversity can be used as a tool for attaining some level of meritocracy also. Pāṇini, was a great Sanskrit grammarian from ancient India. He wrote Ashtadhyayi, a highly systematized and technical grammar. It surpassed its predecessor on monumental scale. Noted historian Arthur Llewellyn Basham said, "...Pāṇini's grammar is one of the greatest intellectual achievements of any ancient civilization, and the most detailed and scientific grammar composed before the 19th century in any part of the world." But at the same time, people believed that Sanskrit language declined after Pāṇini, due to the rigorous and complex logic propounded by Pāṇini. The 'merit' can be catastrophic!

2012- CBSE results 2012: Once again, girls outshine boys in class X exams. 2013 - CBSE Class 12 results: girls outshine boys. 2014 - CBSE announces class 12 results, girls top once again. One can check last 10 years results of the secondary examinations in India. But where are these girls? Why they all are not becoming engineers, leaders, scientists etc except a few. Why they are not in top management? Is this due to merit? It is saying in Bengal region of India - For a fortunate farmer wife dies, while for unfortunate farmer cow dies. If we create such a society, how will they come forward. They cannot walk on the street freely, they are afraid of man. The society of man will somewhere stop their move. And so we are unable to find these brilliant girls. And so we are unable to find the different sex in code, different colours in the code. Why coders are predominantly from one particular region? Similarly these are valid for people from different origins, different languages. Just imagine, if we just think about hiring people only from English native background, how can one person of different language having great vision and idea can be hired. This makes our talent pool very small. So this decides the growth and innovation. The diversity and inclusion is a 'formula for success' and so have this slogan on the t-shirt -
Show us the sex of the code, colour of the code!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

'छोटी-छोटी' भाषाओं के बड़े सपनों के पूरे होने की कहानी*

आदरणीय नरेन्द्र यादवजी, पंडित गोविन्द झाजी, प्रो. अजय कुमार झाजी और उपस्थित सभी गणमान्य अतिथियों का स्वागत करते हुए मुझे अपार खुशी हो रही है। आप सबका हार्दिक स्वागत है। आपकी इस कार्यक्रम में शिरकत हमारे लिए काफी महत्वपूर्ण है। आपने अपना कीमती समय निकाला और यहाँ इस कार्यक्रम में आए - इसके लिए आपका बहुत-बहुत शुक्रिया।

फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स फ़ॉर मोबाइल यानी फ़ेनेक
जैसा कि आप जानते हैं ऐंड्रायड मोबाइल के लिए फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स अब मैथिली में भी उपलब्ध है और हम इसी के लिए यहाँ इकट्ठा हुए हैं। ऐंड्रायड मोबाइलों के लिए फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स ब्राउज़र मोज़िला फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स के वेब ब्राउज़र का एक विशेष बिल्ड है जो स्मार्टफ़ोन और टैब्लेट कंप्यूटर जैसे उपकरणों पर उपयोग किया जा सकता है। मैथिली भाषा में मोबाइल के लिए फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स ब्राउज़र का रिलीज होना काफी महत्वपूर्ण है क्योंकि यह मोबाइल (एंड्रायड आधारित फोन) पर पहला ब्राउज़र है जो मैथिली में उपलब्ध है।

ऐंड्रायड मोबाइल के लिए फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स की मैथिली में उपलब्धता की  खुशी को हमने मोज़िला की मदद से आप सब लोगों साथ साझा करने की कोशिश की है। मोबाइल के लिए फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स की मैथिली में उपलब्धता के सामुदायिक लॉन्च का यह छोटा-सा कार्यक्रम वास्तव में भाषा घर ( )  समूह के अंतर्गत काम कर रहे कुछ जुनूनी लोगों की कोशिशों का उत्सव है। यह सामुदायिक प्रयास के सफलता की एक विशिष्ट कहानी है। ऐंड्रायड फ़ोन के लिए इस ब्राउज़र को यहाँ से डाउनलोड किया जा सकता है - इसे डाउनलोड कर इसका आनंद लें।

एक तकनीकी बात – अब तक यह गूगल प्लेस्टोर में तकनीकी कारण (तीन वर्णीय लोकेल कोड की अनुपलब्धता) से उपलब्ध नहीं था। 05 जनवरी 2015 से यह गूगल प्ले स्टोर पर ऐंड्रायड 5 पर चलने वाले सभी डिवायसों पर उपलब्ध रहेगा।

मोज़िला के अन्य उत्पाद भी मैथिली में

ज्ञातव्य है कि मोज़िला फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स एक फ्री और ओपन सोर्स ब्राउज़र है जो लाखों स्वयंसेवी समुदाय की मदद से मोज़िला फ़ॉउंडेशन के द्वारा तैयार किया जाता है। फेनेक के अलावे फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स ब्राउज़र, फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स ओएस - मोबाइल का एक विशेष ऑपरेटिंग तंत्र – भी मैथिली में उपलब्ध है।

भाषा घर – 'छोटी-छोटी' भाषाओं के बड़े सपने
कंप्यूटर और संबंधित उपकरणों को मैथिली भाषा में करने का काम करीब छह साल पहले मैंने आरंभ किया था जिसमें बाद में कई लोग जुड़े। संगीता कुमारी ने आगे इसका ज़िम्मा लिया और राकेश रोशन, सदन झा, प्रतिभा कुमारी जैसे स्वयंसेवियों की मदद से अब पूरा का पूरा कंप्यूटर भी मैथिली में उपलब्ध है। अब फ़ेडोरा, गनोम, केडीई, लिब्रे ऑफिस, फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स के विभिन्न उत्पादों सहित कई सॉफ़्टवेयर पर काम यह स्वयंसेवी समूह कर रहा है। इस समूह को हमने बड़े उद्देश्यों के लिए भाषा घर नाम दिया और सोचा कि हम उन सभी भाषाओं पर काम करेंगे जिसके पास संसाधनों की कमी है। इसकी वेबसाइट है। हम अंगिका, मगही और भोजपुरी पर भी काम शुरू कर चुके हैं। मैं यहाँ अजय कुमार झाजी, गोविन्द झाजी, रमणजी, मोचीजी सहित कई लोगों को बहुत आभारी हूँ कि आरंभिक दिनों में मैथिली शब्दावली के निर्माण में इन्होंने हमारा भरपूर सहयोग किया था।

मरती भाषाओं का नक्शा बहुत डरावना लगता है
21 जनवरी 2008 को मैरी स्मिथ जोन्स की मृत्यु हो गयी थी। मेरी जोन्स की मृत्यु महज एक व्यक्ति की मृत्यु नहीं कही जा सकती। वह दक्षिणी मध्य अलास्का की एयाक भाषा बोलने वाली अंतिम जीवित व्यक्ति थी। उनकी मौत के बाद एयाक भाषा बोलने वाला एक भी व्यक्ति नहीं बचा। और इस प्रकार सीमित भाषायी विविधता वाले मौजेक से एक रंग हमने खो दिया। शायद आपको जानकर आश्चर्य होगा कि अंगिका - हमारी ही एक भाषा - यूनेस्को के वैश्विक भाषायी मानचित्र पर एक मरती हुई भाषा की सूची में है। नक्शा देखकर काफी अजीब भी लगता है। विश्व एक-दूसरे से जुड़ता जा रहा है लेकिन भाषाएँ मरती जा रही हैं। अधिकाधिक देश लोकतांत्रिक हैं, विकास की ओर बढ़ रहे हैं। लेकिन क्या यह लोकतंत्र, यह विकास छोटी-मोटी भाषाओं की जिंदगी बचाकर नहीं रख सकती है? बहुवचनीयता आज ख़तरे में है। हमने अंगिका को कंप्यूटर पर लाने में आरंभिक सफलता पाई है। अंगिका लोकेल अब कंप्यूटर के लिए मौजूद है। अंगिका फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स के लिए हमने काम शुरू कर दिया है। इसके लिए शब्दावली निर्माण का काम फ़्यूल प्रोजेक्ट ( के तहत होने जा रहा है। कंप्यूटर पर अंगिका की उपस्थिति शायद इसके वजूद को स्थायित्व प्रदान करे। यह 'छोटी-छोटी' भाषाओं के बड़े सपनों के पूरे होने की कहानी है। जरूरत हमें योगदानकर्ताओं की भी है जो आगे आए और महीने में से कुछ घंटे निकालें और और अपनी भाषा के लिए दें।

एक बार मैं फिर से आप सबका दिल से स्वागत करता हूँ। स्वागत और शुक्रिया।
*(मोबाइल के लिए फ़ायरफ़ॉक्स के मैथिली के सामुदायिक लोकार्पण के अवसर पर दिया गया स्वागत वक्तव्य)

Friday, November 14, 2014

We Worship Words

Hello, Good afternoon Everybody!

Honourable Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, Professor Arun Nigavekar , Professor. KP Mohanan, Dr. Raimond Doctor and all of our distinguished guests, welcome.

We are delighted to have you here to participate and share your thoughts in the 2nd FUEL GILT Conference 2014 hosted by Red Hat and C-DAC and supportd by Mozilla. Thank you all for sparing your time and coming here. The fact that many of you have travelled long distances and it indicates how much you all love FUEL Project.

You all know that FUEL Project works to create standardized linguistic resource needed for localization. FUEL Project believes in the wisdom of crowd. We added consensus into it. It creates consistency. 'Many Are Smarter Than the Few' and 'Collective Wisdom has the ability to shape Business, Economies, Societies and Nations'. Crowd wisdom is best suited for problems that involve optimization. And language is such an area. Pure/impure-correct/incorrect often become insignificant.

Recently a great poet Ahsok Vajpeyi was here in the great city of Pune in a program organized in the memory of great Hindustani classical singer Kumar Gandharva. He told one incidence showing the importance of the wisdom of a common people. He has used a word चमकतार in two of his poems. He listened this word during a train journey in the zone of Malwa. The person in the train used that word for the appearance of rain drops when mixing with sun light. उस व्यक्ति ने मालवा में कहा, देखो देखो, चमक-तार बरसा।  After enquiry Mr Vajpeyi found that the word was not even present in the Boli of Malwa, actually just after the mesmerising effect of raindrops, he instantly coined. A new word was created.

We worship words. Tukaram lived most of his life in Dehu, Pune, the पुण्यनगरी. And before I handover the mic to Ani Peter, our awesome compeerer for the event, I want to repeat the words of Sant Tukaram:

आम्हां घरी धन शब्दांचीच
शब्दांचीच शस्त्रें यत्न करूं
शब्द चि आमुच्या जीवाचें जीवन
शब्दें वांटूं धन जनलोकां।

This year we have changed the structure of the conference. We are going to have talks as well as Workshops running parallel . So, prepare yourself to be challenged, excited and inspired.

I want to say once more on behalf of FUEL Project, welcome.  It's a pleasure to see so many of you here.

Thank You!
Welcome address by me @ FUEL GILT Conference 2014.