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Small introductory message


I want to use this message as a small introduction message, explaining
you why I joined Arabeyes.

I am not Arabic speaking and I have no roots in any of the Arabic
speaking countries (well, Arabic is probably among the 3 most spoken
languages in France, so this is partially untrue....). In case you
haven't already noticed, I'm French, living in France (Paris area) and
speaking (quite bad) English as well.

I am a contributor of the Debian Project, as official Debian
Developer, working in the following fiels in the project:

-maintenance of a few packages (two genealogy software, Geneweb and
 Lifelines and a graphical PO file editing program, poedit)
-co-coordinator of the French translation team, working on many
 translations of software and user input interface
-coordinator of the i18n/l10n system of the Debian Installer, the
 project for rewriting the installation system for the next
 release of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution

In the real life, I work as desktop systems design architect and
Unix/Windows system engineer in the French national research center
for Aerospace (ONERA). I also combine this with a very classical
family life with my wife and 3 "kids" (hmmm, at 12, 14 and 16, they're
no more kids, I'm afraid....:-))

I came to Arabeyes through Anmar Oueja, which I got in contact with in
late 2003, when the project for translating the Debian Installer

During a few months, translations commited by Anmar and made by some
of you wre mostly useless as BiDi support was not implemented in the
text interface we use for the installer.

My main activity was then trying to find resources and people willing
to work on this BiDi support so that we can finally claim we support
RTL languages. 

Early work was made by one of the Hebrew translators, Shlomi Loubaton,
who digged around in the slang library in order to find the places
where code changes were needed.

Shlomi's work was finally used as a start by Steve Langasek, one of
the major Debian code contributors, and a really nice guy. Steve
finally managed to give some time when we were both at the Debian
Conference in Brazil in late May. He could achieve this work during
the conference, so we unfortunately couldn't open the champaign bottle
it would have deserved...:-). Indeed, he had the patched library
ready, but we had to find a way to include it in the installer.

A few weeks ago, Steve finally concluded on this subject and the
Debian Installer image built on Sunday June 20th 2004 was the very
first to include right-to-left display for Arabic, Hebrew and the
preliminary Farsi translations.

The work currently continues as, for instance, the 2nd stage of the
installation is still wrongly left-to-right displayed. Also, some
right alignment support probably needs to be put in slang as well as
native shaping support from the next libfribidi release.

I joined Arabeyes and subscribed to this specific Arabeyes mailing
list because I think I can make my possible for convincing you people
to continue the work on translating our installer....and maybe later
other stuff in Debian. I already explained in another mail why I think
this is worth it....

Currently, I would like to have the translation work already done in
Arabeyes CVS pushed back in Debian repository so that we have a more
complete translation in the daily builds.

OK, time for concluding this e-mail. I hope this gave you a better
idea of the involvment I plan to have in the future...:-)