[Reader-list] Abstract of study on GNU/Linux L10n initiatives and ICT4Defforts

Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay sankarshan at hotpop.com
Mon Jan 26 20:47:08 IST 2004


As part of the requirement for the CSDS-Independent Research
Fellowship 2004, appended below is the abstract of the Study on the
subject of GNU/Linux L10N initiatives and ICT4D efforts.

Warm regards


Localisation (hereinafter abbreviated as L10n) have as the core
objective the desire to take computing to the masses. L10n
initiatives work with the entire GNU/Linux toolchain and existing
distributions conforming to recent LSB specifications. Information
and Communication Technologies (hereinafter abbreviated as ICT) are
being gradually adapted to ensure that the 'digital divide' is
successfully bridged. Using ICT for development has been the
objective of ICT4D. L10n and ICT4D are possess a dynamic synergy so
far as the broad aims and objectives are concerned.

Title of Study

"GNU/Linux L10n initiatives and their impact on ICT4D efforts with
special relevance to management of such projects, integration and
collaboration protocols, tools and methodologies".

Short term objectives of the Study

Analysing L10n initiatives in the perspective of ICT4D
implementations has the immediate result in producing models of
process(es) and protocol(s) that can be replicated and redeployed
with customisation(s). Such a repository of models are useful in
testing out L10n efforts and incorporating user feedback through a
Participatory Model.

Aim of the Study

In India, the major L10n initiatives include those for Hindi,
Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam and Marathi. These projects are being taken
up for discussion as they show a considerable level of project
maturity as well as proven releases of ISO images (or the project
roadmap is public and in place). The aim of this Study is:

· to understand the publicly available roadmaps for the formal
conclusion   of the first phase deliverables, to analyse the project
and release   management protocols in place

· to propose a framework for collaboration with other L10n
initiatives in   order to ensure effective and optimised sharing of
technological know-how

· to analyse ICT4D efforts based on these localised GNU/Linux
implementations and releases

· to study the technological limitations of working with limited
releases of localised applications

· to enumerate and quantify the various economic aspects of ICT4D

· to propose optimisation of existing management practices and
evaluate various independent paths

· to locate and identify possible 'index cases' and test bench areas
leading to a self-sustaining and viable ICT4D implementation

· to create a model for successful replication of feasible

· to analyse regions of overlap between successful ICT4D
installations and regional GNU/Linux L10n efforts

· to propose a model repository for various generic applications as
'inclusive ICT4D'

Layout and methodology of Study

The Study is research-oriented and will thus include both primary and
secondary research.

The aim and scope of the proposal includes interaction with various
members of Indic Consortium to understand the aims and objectives as
mandated by the charter of the Consortium.

It also includes first hand research of the currently running (pilot,
test case and phase-in) ICT4D implementations, analysing media
reports on the same and the financial projections of such

The Study will include investigation of implementations of ICT4D
programs on a global scale to rationalise the objectives and
strategic goals. Evaluating such short-term strategic goals and
long-term tactical initiatives on the basis of a ranking scale will
lead to creation of a framework leading to a proposal for guidelines
of ICT4D implementations.

L10n efforts and initiatives are the delivery platform towards ICT4D.
Thus the project involves detail study of various L10n initiatives
and the relevant spinoff projects that are potential candidates for
incorporation in an ICT4D effort. As part of the effort, it will also
include investigation into 'Low Cost Computing' methods that focus on
integrating Free/Libre Open Source Software development models
towards dissemination  of information.

The Study shall be modelled on the method of iterative and regular
releases of whitepapers and case studies. Such releases will address
either one particular domain (or aspect) of the Study title or
evaluate and propose methods and tools for rapid scalability of ICT4D

Regular releases of such project documents on mailing lists (such as
BytesForAll, PRC) will ensure peer review and feedback on the methods
employed to collate and collect data and analyse the same. The
objective of the research is to produce a document that will serve as
a guideline to various implementations by providing case studies and
templates. The final project document release will provide a
conceptual understanding of the various L10n initiatives and propose
areas of collaboration and tie-up/tie-in together with methods of
doing the same.

A temporary content platform is created at
www.geocities.com/sankarshan76/csds-study/index.htm to make content
available in human readable format. This will be taken up in right
earnest after a proper domain has been purchased and a Content
Management System put in place. E-mail address for contact is
sankarshan at hotpop dot com

A related aspect of the Study is conducting talks and presentations
at various academic institutions which are involved in F/L OSS
initiatives with the aim of creating a technologically aware
volunteer/enthusiast base. Thus, it also includes constant
interaction with persons interested in education to explore new
avenues towards promotion and implementation of F/L OSS based ICT4D
efforts using both bottom-up and top-down approach.

The project approach is two-fold:

[i] investigate existing domains of ICT4D by interaction with the
existing networks in order to understand processes

[ii] participate in creation of new niche systems where ICT4D
experiments can be carried out

As part of point [ii] above, a list to address the issue of 'Low Cost
Computing' (and the various contributory factors) has been initiated
at Freelists.org. The project also requires closer interaction with
members of WSF and FSF-India involved in the technology research.
Initiation of participatory discussions with technology transfer
organisations like Forum of Scientists, Engineers and Technologists
(FOSET) will lead to a greater appreciation of the ground-level
realities of technological challenges. The project will also include
discussions with senior officials of the Government in order to
provide a balanced perspective of the scenario.

The Study will also take into account the roadmaps and strategic aims
of the various stakeholders in the domain of L10n and ICT4D. Such an
inclusive approach encourages a convergence to emerge.

Knowledge should be shared
I Support PLoS
Public Library of Science

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