Switched to Mandriva…

Mandriva Linux

I finally did it! Been talking about ditching Ubuntu for ages and never found the time (you know… backup, new install, restore, get familiar, etc.). It turns out that last Thursday while extending my /home partition with a LiveCD, for some reasons something went wrong and I ended it with my bigger partition having the same remaining free space as before being extended (I had a 20GiB unused space on the disk initially). Thinking I had been lucky not to lose anything, I backed up and installed Mandriva One. It’s a bit like going back to my first love Mandrake (second actually, started Linux with Red Hat when it was free many years ago)! Of course I preferred the name back then, but for obvious reasons they couldn’t keep it.

So Mandriva has actually a specific ISO file for Asia which can be downloaded from a Chinese mirror maintained by our good friend Funda. It includes all the necessary files to support Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Malay and a few more languages I think. Installation was almost ok, couldn’t do it in 3D mode but hey, I can live with that (the install button just wouldn’t click).

The first 6 hours using Mandriva where a bit challenging in the sense that I had to get familiar with urpmi and how to do things. They do have a great Linux Control Center (mcc) where you can find all the things to be configured in one single location. Their network manager is also very powerful and has all the options one should expect from such a tool. Had a little rendering problem with my Chinese fonts (using English desktop with Chinese enabled) which was due to a conflict with the Japanese fonts. Well in short after two days of discussion with Patrick who visit us regularly, Funda and Freeflying on #mandrivacn I got everything fixed, missing applications from the repositories backported and a service that really impressed me: Kudos to Mandriva and its community.

Now an other reason for supporting Mandriva is that they’ve been trying to build a community here, have hired people to improve Chinese support and are even building the operating system that will run on the Gdium (the Loongson based general purpose Chinese CPU). So definitely an interesting distribution worth following and encouraging.

I again extend a big thank you to Funda, Freeflying and Patrick for their help, and recommend everyone to give it a try.

One more application fully localized, one started!

Still actually working on that new project of mine, we (Pockey and I) finished Gcompris localization in Chinese last Saturday. Ok, most of the work was done with 98% completed, which shows a huge increase from 6 months ago actually where less than half was translated into Chinese. Gcompris is an educational software suite which proposes different activities to children from 2 to 10 years old. Gcompris po files are available from the Gnome website where you can find a few other languages that need completion. Coordinating the Gnome Chinese translation effort it is worth mentioning that you can find BLUG member and occasional presenter Funda Wang (Yeah BLUG again).

This being said we have also started localizing Hex-a-hop, a puzzle game with 100 levels. The internationalization process was completed last year in July by Jens Seidel, who has developed the patches for making it work with SDLPango and to support all the spectrum of Unicode characters. With debian packages, the process of getting the po file is a big more “complicated”. In fact there are two ways, one given to me by Miriam Ruiz (Hex-a-hop maintainer at debian) and one by Anthony Fok (BLUG member among so many other things, and great Linux contributor). So here we go (for those who would like to actually translate other debian projects):

miriam@miriam:~/tmp$ apt-get source hex-a-hop
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Need to get 1020kB of source archives.
Get:1 http://ftp.de.debian.org sid/main hex-a-hop 0.0.20070315-6 (dsc) [1004B]
Get:2 http://ftp.de.debian.org sid/main hex-a-hop 0.0.20070315-6 (tar) [892kB]
Get:3 http://ftp.de.debian.org sid/main hex-a-hop 0.0.20070315-6 (diff) [127kB]
Fetched 1020kB in 1s (577kB/s)
dpkg-source: extracting hex-a-hop in hex-a-hop-0.0.20070315
dpkg-source: info: unpacking hex-a-hop_0.0.20070315.orig.tar.gz
dpkg-source: info: applying hex-a-hop_0.0.20070315-6.diff.gz
miriam@miriam:~/tmp$ find . -name "*.po"
miriam@miriam:~/tmp$ find . -name "*.pot"

Then you just need to open the .pot file with poedit. Second method is to convert the .mo file which you can get from the binary deb file back into a .po file typing:

wget http://ftp.tw.debian.org/debian/pool/main/h/hex-a-hop/hex-a-hop_0.0.20070315-6_i386.deb
dpkg-deb -x hex-a-hop_0.0.20070315-6_i386.deb testdir
cd testdir/usr/share/locale/de/LC_MESSAGES
msgunfmt hex-a-hop.mo > hex-a-hop.po

Now there is a good explanation here on the translation process used in FOSS for those of you wanting to understand more. Should you want to join us and help, please don’t hesitate to contact me. If you want to translate other applications that you feel should be in your language but are having problems with it, I won’t mind helping out neither.