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,
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,
Have a nice day,
So that’s my reply, and here’s another one.
September 10, 2008