[Localization] [Fwd: Re: #7116 NORM Never A: Possible European G1G1 program needs appropriate keyboards]

Chris Leonard cjlhomeaddress at gmail.com
Mon Jun 9 20:52:04 EDT 2008

On Mon, Jun 9, 2008 at 11:00 AM, Carlo Falciola <cfalciola at yahoo.it> wrote:

>  What about to delivery plain intn'l machines with default keyboard and
> then set up some stocks of nationalized keyboards (FR, DE, IT, GR, etc.. )
> and offer them at a price that's commisurated to the production cost of the
> keyboard itself (and the planned numbers), not burdening at all XO
> production?

I sincerely hope the OLPC has learned some lessons from the first G1G1
program.  While it seems clear enough that the logistics of providing a
"factory-localized" laptop are very likely insurmountable, it also seems
clear that shipping only US International keyboard to an EU-focused G1G1
program will NOT be well received and will only bring accusations of
cultural and linguistic imperialism and the like to an organization that
should be earning praise for it's efforts to make computing in local
languages possible.

There must be a third path. Imagine instead a different sort of G1G1 process
that incorporates Carlo's suggestion.  The  web-site for an EU G1G1 program
clearly explains some of the XO's remarkable flexibility (both in hardware
and in software) and the immense level of control handed over to the user.

EU donors order their G1G1 in a selection of several languages (en, fr, es,
de, it, however many are relevant and feasible).  It is clearly explained
that what the donor will receive is a US International formatted XO and an
envelope containing the keyboard membrane for the language of their
choice along with a beautifully illustrated brochure explaining how to swap
keyboard membranes, the brochure to be localized in the same language as the
keyboard. The brochure will also explain how to use a newly created activity
called LocalizeMyXO.

LocalizeMyXO comes pre-installed in the EU G1G1 image.  The user changes the
keyboard membrane using the supplied hard-copy directions and then clicks on
one of the flags displayed by the LocalizeMyXO activity as described in the
brochure.  The LocalizeMyXO activity reaches out to a controlled location on
OLPC servers (or mirrors in EU) and in a scripted fashion, performs all of
the necessary steps to re-localize the laptop to the relevant language,
switches keyboard settings, downloads a fresh image with the right Pootle
strings, including activities, etc.  LocalizeMyXO does all of this without
any substantial user intervention once the language has been selected.  The
LocalizeMyXO activity stays available, and if the donor wants to switch
back, they just click on another flag.

This requires no special logistics in manufacturing, other than preparing
some additional membranes in various languages and adding the proposed
LocalizeMyXO activity to the image.  There would need to be better logistics
on the distribution end, but we knew that already.  The language choice
field have to be tracked by the hopefully much improved donor
tracking/shipping system (it should not be guessed from ship to address).
The packing and shipping operation will need to drop the correct envelope
into the correct box.  Distribution processing could be bulk sorted into
several streams (by language packet) to make it simpler.  Let's say you do a
different language every day, in rotation, for the heavy phase of the
shipping cycle to avoid slighting any one language group, or do it for
several days, whatever, just don't leave one language group to the bitter

Net result, G1G1 donors ultimately get the localized machine they want for
their Get One.  They know upfront they will have to do a little work
(keyboard membrane change), but the logistics of manufacturing runs and cost
savings have been clearly and politely explained to them in advance and they
knowingly opt in.  They gain the experience of how easily an XO keyboard is
swapped (beauty of hardware design) and how cleanly a localization change
can be performed, if executed in more-or-less one-click fashion by
LocalizeMyXO (beauty of software design).  OLPC distributes the accumulated
Give Ones to children without buying itself a totally unnecessary public
relations nightmare.

Final score:
Get One Donor, Win.
Give One Child, Win.
OLPC, Win.

Additional mfg costs:
Must factor extra membranes into cost.  Make mfg/distribution cost of
membrane explicit.  Need to create LocalizeMyXO activity, it would be a
variation on theme of scripts/procedures already existing for updating to
newer builds (Update.1 and after) and for re-installing G1G1 bundles

Additional distribution costs:
These would need to be factored in as well.  If a competent EU-savvy
distributor is selected, these should be relatively modest and can be rolled
into membrane upcharge.

I'm a North American G1G1 donor, and while it took longer than I had hoped
to get my XO, I got it and I'm very happy with it.  It got me to work on
contributing to OLPC (mostly on wiki, focused on content, not code).  That's
the sort of "fringe benefit" you want to get from a G1G1 program.  How
can OLPC expect to draw in volunteers, (we could certainly use more
translators), if you only "talk the talk" of i18n/l10n and do not "walk the
walk".  The current state of upkeep on www.laptop.org, particularly
translations is bad enough a flag of shame as it is (by way of example, the
English language version lists Walter Bender as President, Software and
Content, http://www.laptop.org/vision/people/).

Please don't make the blunder of failing to offer  some sort of language
options to an EU G1G1 program, that can only make OLPC look greedy for the
money, contemptuous of the donors and culturally and linguistically
incompetent to perform it's self-declared mission.

With regards and concern,

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