February 8, 2006

Localization in India via redhat

Filed under: People,Web/Tech — by anshuljain @ 3:25 am

How many languages does India has? 100, ok no 200. Wrong. There are about 500 languages out of which 22 are official. How many of you have ever worked on a computer in a language apart from English, Spanish, Japanese or French. I bet not too much. If a language is not becoming part of digital advancement then the language will become outdated and endangered and in some cases might even become a thing of the past. Thanks to the free software ideology and contemporary open source development methods that have given a new lease on life to many different languages. Free and open source software, unlike other bureaucratic processes, enable each individual, including you, to contribute toward enabling local language computing and thereby expediting the process of adoption of technologies enabled by computers in rural India. It is a fact that proprietary groups cannot afford to fulfill the needs of the masses, especially in an economy with limited purchasing power, but the community of open source computing can rise to the occasion.

In India, so many groups are working to have their languages enabled on computers. “Localizing free software for a free country” is the slogan of IndLinux, a major and popular group having enormous success with this work. IndLinux is a group of people who believe, not so surprisingly, that the benefits of information technology must be widely and freely available to the Indian masses. They are a group of people who combine skills in written scripts, free/open source technologies, and technology journalism to make this happen. Punlinux is one of the most successful examples. Within two years, this group has localized an enormous amount of content in Punjabi, a vibrant language and culture of India. Everything from Fedora® to GNOME to KDE to OpenOffice and all! A great success story from an organization based in rural India! None of the Punlinux members has any urban base! The work of localization started long before and now it has taken the form of movement. Internet availability, lack of resources, and illiteracy are some hindrances in the path of local language computing. Two decades ago, the condition of the television industry was similar to the present computer industry in India. Positive changes are inevitable and also not very far off in the field of computers.



  1. i really appreciate ur concern regarding the languages becoming extinct due to the lack of digitisation… in india although endeavours are being made, they r fewer and far between. it would be really helpful if there are free language converting softwares which have in-built programs that can translate anything typed into a prticular language meaningfully and leaves room for editing.
    hope that happens some day. well written and informative

    Comment by mac — February 12, 2006 @ 7:19 pm |Reply

  2. That is a very valid point mac. However if there was any such software made today you could imagine the amount of edits made in it by so many people. The best piece of software would be something like which could be pre-installed on a computer given to any individual and then that user tweakes it according to his or her tastes.

    Comment by Anshul Jain — February 12, 2006 @ 10:35 pm |Reply

  3. hey sorry..i din realize u were sid’s friend. Thanks for visiting my blog man..

    Comment by Anshul Jain — February 12, 2006 @ 10:36 pm |Reply

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