More on Baishakhi Linux

My previous blog post on Baishakhi got a response from Prof Anupam Basu of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, as a comment and as a mail in my mailbox. Here’s my reply inline (the original mail is in bold and italics):

Dear Prof Basu,

Dear All,

I have come across Sayamindu’s blog post­ing and was amused, pained and sur­prised in the same breath.

Let us be objec­tive first.

1. The release was on the 8th of Sep­tem­ber and it was planned to make the source code avail­able upstream, within a few days as is expected of open-source activ­i­ties. Please keep your weather eyes open on the SNLTR site. So, Sankar­shan, you need not feel that the effort will go waste.

This is the first time in my life I have heard that a “open source” project releases the code after the binary has been released. I have seen projects which have promised to release the source code at some point, but until that hap­pens, the project is pro­pri­etary (I am not a lawyer, but that’s how my under­stand­ing goes). What’s more, there have been, till date, at least three emails that I am aware of, ask­ing for the source code. None of them have got any reply.

2. Mr. Toshi Kub­ota (mail cc’d to him) is a pio­neer in Open-Source and Linux related move­ments in Japan. We will ensure that all gpl require­ments are adhered to in accor­dance with his guid­ance. Please note that the inau­gu­ra­tion was only day before yes­ter­day !!!!

See reply to your pre­vi­ous point.

3. I won­der whether in the exist­ing ver­sions we could write words like র‌্যাপার, আর্য, and a few more could be writ­ten prop­erly.

Please see the screen­shot below, taken in a stock Fedora 9 sys­tem, with­out any mod­i­fi­ca­tions what­so­ever.

By the way, r-japhala should be writ­ten as U+09B0 + ZWJ + U+09CD + U+09AF, accord­ing the Uni­code 5.0 spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

4. I am not sure whether in the exist­ing ver­sions of Open-Office spread­sheet, com­pu­ta­tions could be car­ried out in Bangla.

I tried that in Baishakhi, it did not work for me. Also, the Baishakhi key­board does not work for me (I’m run­ning it in a vir­tual machine.) Is there any bug tracker where I can report these issues ?

5. I know ( because Indranil Das­gupta him­self told me on the first day we were dis­cussing and demon­strat­ing a pre­lim ver­sion of Baishakhi Linux) that the exist­ing Linux ver­sions, print­out of com­plex Bengali scripts through Fire­fox was not pos­si­ble — thanks to Indranil — this prob­lem is not there in Baishakhi Linux.

It works for the past two years, from what I under­stand. Here’s a blog post on this issue, made on 9th Sep­tem­ber, 2006
6. The con­tri­bu­tions may be incre­men­tal, (as sug­gested by Saya­mindu — a one line code), but that is there now. Baishakhi Linux need not make tall claims, it was a very low bud­get effort and the spirit should be to con­tribute more by point­ing out bugs and improv­ing on it.

Would be glad to do bug report­ing and fix­ing (as far as my time per­mits). Can I have a pub­licly avail­able bug tracker please ? I try to avoid work­ing with closed sys­tems.

7. We ensure that no credit titles will be demeaned. Last-Translator does not demean oth­ers I think and that is the con­ven­tion. Still to err is human. So please play straight — point out any omis­sions in a con­struc­tive way.

There is no prob­lem with replac­ing the last trans­la­tor line. Every­one does that. The prob­lem is, the trans­la­tor cred­its which gets shown in the UI got replaced. We only append to trans­la­tor cred­its, we never delete prior cred­its. For exam­ple, take a look at the fol­low­ing screen­shots (one taken in my Fedora sys­tem. and the other from Baishakhi Linux). Both are the screen­shots of the same appli­ca­tion (Gedit).

That’s not polite.

I am amused because how fast we can react with blogs etc. , when they could have writ­ten to us directly.
I am pained because my invi­ta­tions to some of the Open-Source groups to join hands in these activ­i­ties was met with absolute silence.
I am sur­prised because I thought Open-Source activ­i­ties call for Open-Minds, join­ing hands in an endeavor. I thought the phi­los­o­phy was
“Let a hun­dred flow­ers blos­som. Let a thou­sand thoughts con­tend”. As always, being in aca­d­e­mics I was wrong. We are too fast in cir­cu­lat­ing over blogs with­out dis­cussing when the avenues exist.

I have been actively involved with Free/Open Source Soft­ware, for more than seven years, with FLOSS in Bangla for more than six years. I think I’m sub­scribed to almost each and every com­mu­nity mail­ing list related to FLOSS Indic com­put­ing and FLOSS Bangla com­put­ing. I have never seen a mail from you to any com­mu­nity what­so­ever, announc­ing this ini­tia­tive. I just did a search of my mail box with your name, and I got noth­ing which could be rel­e­vant (and thanks to gmail I rarely delete my mails). It’s entirely prob­a­ble that I did not get the invi­ta­tion indi­vid­u­ally (and I have no prob­lems with that). How­ever, in that case, which com­mu­nity did you approach ?

Yes, we could have writ­ten to you directly. We did — ask­ing for the source. And we did not get any reply.
In the begin­ning of your mail, you men­tion amused, pained and sur­prised. From my per­spec­tive, I’m not amused, I’m quite sur­prised, and yes, I am pained, and deeply saddened.

Best of regards,

Anu­pam Basu

অনুপম বসু

Have a nice day,
Warm regards,

So that’s my reply, and here’s another one.

September 10, 2008