Firefox Indic versions and suggested improvements thereof

Since, 26-Aug-2008, I stopped using English version of firefox. That was day, when our friends’ efforts led to the release of official Kannada version of Firefox by Mozilla.

Blog post from my archive(Opens in new tab) – http://sampada.net/blog/sunil-jayaprakash/26/08/2008/11176

Since then, I always use Kannada Firefox on Linux / Windows. On Mac, I use Safari. There are issues with Firefox (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=728557). There are issues with Chrome as well.

Last Saturady, Mozilla’s Localization Community Manager, Arky had come down to Namma Bengaluru. Few of us met at Saaranga Infotech. The agenda was about Mozilla Localization Sprint and discuss ways to improve Localized firefox Experience. There were various things that were discussed but here is my take on what Mozilla should do. (in the order of priority).

1. Improve accessibility to Localized Production Builds – Well, when it comes localized builds, I tend to diverge from translation discussions. Yes, translations are the core of localized builds but accessibility to production ready software is something, Mozilla should *really* *really* focus on. No point in translating, if downloading the software itself is difficult. As of today, when i visit getfirefox.com, the server reads the user agent and offers an appropriate localized build.

Look at the size of images..

Look at the size of text, that offers “Other systems and Languages”. Most of us dont bother to  change our User-Agent. Hence, by default when i visit getfirefox.com, i always get english build. Asking the user to change the User-Agent and then visit getfirefox.com, its a big task. If Mozilla wants to popularize itself further amongst competitors in India, it should focus on its getfirefox.com page. The Indian flavours of firefox should be accessible much easily. Many a times, people get to know about “Kannada Firefox”, because they see me using “Kannada Firefox”. When they ask, how/where I got  it, I show them the download link. They also give a smile saying, they dint know that “Kannada Firefox” existed since 2008.

2. Focus on Local Applications along with Local Translations – Dont get me wrong here. My sincere advise. Dont rely solely on volunteers to spread localized firefox. Create events and invite us to develop local addons. Invite us to Hack days. Think about this. Why is firefox awesome ? Because of flexiblity, I can customize it the way I want. Lots and Lots of addons. Its like iPhone ecosystem. Lot of apps. Dont just sponsor college events, instead ask them to create local addons.

3. Translations – Point#1 focuses on downloads, however point#3 is to retain them. The current translation quality of Kannada Firefox is better than what it was two years back and its better than some of the other translations where there is strict classical use. Atleast in Kannada firefox, without adhering to hard Sanskrit words, folks have made sure that the blend of Kannada/English/Sanskrit creates better localized version. However, translations could always be made better through continuous discussions. The current way of suggesting translations/improvements is very tedious. Few of us assign *.po files among ourselves, translate it, review each other’s by sending mails and make sure the translations are in trunk. Instead, there should be convinient online forum where we can discuss, suggest improvements, probably vote. Also, Mozilla should support local communities meetup. Three weeks back we had met for http://fuelproject.org, sponsored by redhat. Shankar Prasad, who led the effort made sure that there was blend of liguists, enthusiasts and technical audience. 8-10 of us sat for two days to do translations for fuelproject. It was a memorable event for us. Now, if Mozilla can support such community events, better versions of kannada firefox would emerge. Also, there is no good support for accountability and giving right credits. Currently its like, we have to translate and send a mail to mozilla to give us the credits for translation. Its not possible to track who translated how much. It might so happen that some person does 90% of the translations but doesn’t get the credit. Such operational things should improve.

TL;DR – “I love firefox, but I don’t hate others”. If Mozilla focuses on the above three aspects, I could consider removing the second part of the statement.

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2 Responses to Firefox Indic versions and suggested improvements thereof

  1. I think the first improvement from the community would be to translate the download pages in Kannada language, none of our current download pages are translated into your language:
    http://l10n.mozilla-community.org/webdashboard/?locale=kn

    Want to help?🙂

  2. jinnu says:

    Pascal, thanks for the inputs. We have created a bug https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=730544 and tracking the developments.

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