Interview with Didouph

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I'm a 29 year old married male living and born in France. I have two kids. My background is artistic and so is my professional and college experience until 2006. I've been using Linux since 1998 but have been increasing my commitment since 2000. I learned all I know about computer from experience and discussion. I used the skills I acquired in both art and technology as a background for most of my professional experience from 1999 till now by using one to teach the other. At the very moment, I'm a grocery shop manager as well as a computer preceptor (week end) and a visual artist. Online, i'm both one of mypclinuxos Admins, i18n team leader.

Q: What propelled you to create this version? (that question is kind of tricky and plural)

Its not actually a version that I designed but several... as you know I'm a "multitasking" interventionist.

My I've been wandering around for a while since its opening and offered my services to a lot of projects wile giving tips and help on the main forums. I set up the i18n team's base there and focused my PCLinuxOS commitment here. I quickly became a global mod. Once Devnet decided to remove himself from mypclinuxos, he assigned various members as admins of very specific sections of the site. I took the lead of the technical part, blended with my global moderator and project leader duties. This became quite a big thing about 1 year ago with KDulcimer and Jmiahman. So after all, I took no decision but to do something and the commitment took shape progressively.

I18n Project: Since I'm not a natural English speaker, PCLinuxOS is lacking a lot for me and for 2/3rd of the world. I had several commitments in software translation and a recent activity in a PCLinuxOS remaster oriented towards French people. Those projects were able to provide an almost 100% localized remaster but were unable to maintain the PCLinuxOS backward "linguistic" compatibility due to rpm, which was untranslated on the repositories. Thus, we decided, with the most people involved in the localization and translation effort around PCLinuxOS, to unite and start translating the "core" of the distro in as many languages as possible and sometimes goes farther and deeper. The very aim has always been to provide an OS as easy to use as possible for the average Joe and since the average Joe is not obviously fluent in English.

Q: What were some of the hurdles that you had to get over in achieving these goals?

mypclinuxos: The big thing has been to set up something that would allow tons of people to work together in a simple and complimentary way. Thus, we have set up a system centered on two tools: a wiki and a forum. Those tools provide a base for work. We also provide sub domains and web based tools on those domains to help the project get independent. So, the big thing has been to deal with each project's specificity and help it grow without getting isolated. It's more a matter of diplomacy than a matter of technical awareness.

The last few months saw the birth of an increasing amount of sub domains and mature projects. While the commitment of people from "external" projects has became more visible and the interconnection of projects like "tiny-me", "Santa's little helper", "i18n", "mklivecd", "beautification" and "gtk live install" turned out to be very productive. The real ordeal is to manage individual projects and keep things organised without putting anything or anyone aside.

The last year saw the birth of several new projects like "mythtv-os", "producer edition" and "eeePCLinuxOS". Some grew up quite fast and migrated out of mypclinuxos in no time, and some others have a slower maturation but are still active. A lot are hyperactive like "Santa" or "i18n" and provide updated content on a real regular and intense basis to the mainstream distro. They have turned mypclinuxos in to a real third party software content provider for PCLinuxOS. It's sometimes like managing a 2,000 9th grade classroom and sometimes like advising a sage assembly.

Anyway, we have been trying to maintain the role of this site, which is to gather endeavours around PCLinuxOS and promote projects that add to it for everyone. We do this by providing 3rd party content, flavoured installs or better user experience and functionality. This maintains a plurality in the proposal towards PCLinuxOS users by supporting projects that the official site could not, like or eeePCLinuxOS.

i18n: One of the biggest issue with i18n is i18n in itself. One needs to manage asynchronous and hyperactive commitments from various origin. Since the languages are numerous, we need to get the translators to be as picky as possible on the quality of their translations and thus get them to triple check every word, since we have not yet enough volunteers to proofread all the provided translation. My work has been to get a sharp understanding and awareness of what each sub team has in mind and is up to in order to synchronise the CVS and keep things up to date.

The second big issue has been to get our enhancements in the distro, being added to the repositories. Except for the "core" packages like drak-live-install and PCC, most has been incorporated by the santa little helper's team but due to the asynchronysm and the very careful way the ripper gang commits files to the repository with several checks between the packaging and the release of a rpm, only 20% of the overall translated elements are available for the regular PCLinuxOS users.

The last big deal has been to provide a framework for i18n incorporation where the distro missed it, like synaptic's category listing, mklivecd and more recently vit. David Smid, maintainer of vit, and Gettinther, santa little helper's leader, have been of great help on those, but this project is composed of many individuals such as those two. We have at the very moment a unique synaptic version that is 100% translatable to any supported languages, vit is already translated in at least 6 languages and mklivecd will be able to be fine tuned to get localized from the initial boot screen to shutdown!

Q: What do you see for the future of mypclinuxos and the i18n team?

The mypclinuxos system is reaching its limit. we are currently testing a new engine with new tools. Its Joomla based with community builder and will use phpbb3 forums. Using joomla as a hub, we are testing tools to monitor and report project activity like a bugtracker and an embedded wiki using media wiki. Soon, the tests will start on a svn web service to let the project have an online tool to manage software content. All this is too improve a new user's experience, facilitate project interconnections and to track bug reports. We want to split apart support and documentation from developement and general information. We also want to get a private area for each project and allow the connection of external projects to mypclinuxos. At the very moment, mypclinuxos looks like a pulp and we want to make it look like a hub! is the place to go and check how this new site looks and works.

Of course 100% commitment in the repository is the i18n team's final objective. We are going to carry on the rpm update process on the software programs we translated in order to get a faster incorporation curve. We also will be working on sets of tools to localize regular PCLinuxOS installs and eventually take part in the developement of the long announced and awaited multilingual DVD! Once that is done, our next target will be to translate documentation, both internal and external (wiki) and, why not the magazine?