Resending to infra since it didn't go through.
Founder & CEO, Transifex
(sent from device prone to typos)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Dimitris Glezos" <glezos(a)transifex.com>
Date: Jul 17, 2014 1:17 PM
Subject: On Fedora's Localization platform
To: "Fedora Infrastructure" <infrastructure(a)lists.fedoraproject.org>
Cc: "Fedora Translation Project List" <trans(a)lists.fedoraproject.org>,
participants of the Documentation Project" <docs(a)lists.fedoraproject.org>
I'll share some of my thoughts at this point.
- *Freedom* is more than just access to a tarball. What kinds of Freedom
is Fedora enjoying and giving up by using a platform like Transifex or
- What is the *Board's position* about using non-open-source but
open-friendly services? How much should we sacrifice to only run
open-source on our servers?
- Research thoroughly all possible solutions and find out what exactly
we'll be sacrificing and gaining. *Pootle* is much more trusted than
- Ask all key Fedora L10n people. Past and current.
- Any switch should be led by a technical Fedora localization person.
- The goal should be to make Fedora L10n a successful project. The tools
are just tools. The most important community features in Transifex have not
My contributions to Fedora nowadays are limited to supporting the L10n
project with our Transifex instance. I used to be a member of the Fedora
Board in the past. I see there's still the title "Fedora Localization Lead"
next to my name, but I suppose that's mostly because no one else took the
role. Today I basically make sure the community has what they need from
Transifex. I trust Piotr Drąg (raven) for any L10n leadership questions I
Today a decision is being brewed on the basis that Transifex is not
open-source. As I mentioned, this is a discussion which needed to happen.
But I find the way it's being discussed disappointing to all the years of
hard work many individuals have put to establish a successful L10n platform
for Fedora (including my own). Many people in Fedora (and Transifex)
have *invested man
years to make this work*. We haven't even discussed "what are the key
things we need from our L10n platform"?
Following are my thoughts. I'm writing these with an effort to wear my
Fedora L10n hat as much as possible. But the POV does also include my roles
as Transifex's CEO, Fedora's Localization Infrastructure Lead for the past
6 years, and as one of the most experienced people on open-source
When I was young I was looking at freedom in a different way. I was more an
open source zealot than today. I cared mostly about openness of the code.
It didn't matter if there was only one engineer hacking on the code. What
mattered was the license and little more.
Gradually I started realizing one of the reasons I loved Fedora was that it
valued highly quality and community participation. It valued relationships,
productivity, happiness, innovation. We valued meritocracy more than
democracy. Succeeding as a distributions was more than just having the
sources of packages.
*I'm not a fan of the spin put on Freedom in this discussion*. Fedora is
free to use Transifex forever. It's free to export all data at any point
(including all past translations and all the history of the translations so
far) to move to another platform. And it was free to use real people from
our team working on improving the platform constantly and adding new
features. I've met a lot of people in Fedora. The smartest ones knew very
well that *Freedom is not a one-colored attribute*.
Migrating from one platform to another will have *major costs*. I led the
original migration from Elvis
to Tx. It required
many meetings with stakeholders, research, experiments. In the end, *it
costed us more than half our translators*.
Assuming the Freedom discussion is resolved and the benefits of the
migration outweigh the costs. If I were leading this (and did not have a
vested interest in one platform...), the last thing I'd want, is to go
through the trouble of migrating, only to find out 5 key things we need are
missing. *Zero research was done* on the available tools out there and how
they stack with Transifex. Here are examples of research done by other
projects which came across my attention: One
Ask the Transifex team itself to tell us how they compare to the other
platforms on all key areas. Cover solutions like Pootle which are developed
in a very open matter. Put in a spreadsheet and compare thoroughly.
This is responsible project management 101.
Those who have been around a while saw the Zanata push from the Red Hat
teams coming with mathematical precision. Even when Transifex was being
fully developed as open source, Red Hat decided to develop Zanata in
parallel instead of investing in Transifex. This has always struck me as
mind-boggling, given that Transifex was born in Fedora's arms and quickly
became the most popular open-source localization platform.
It is all in good spirit and competition is good. I am holding no grudge
against Zanata. In fact, the Zanata team's efforts to grab Fedora in the
past has pushed Tx to innovate fast.
Having said this...
In terms of Freedom, out of all the localization platforms out there, and
given what I've seen the past years, Zanata is developed in one of the
least open ways. Which open-source projects are using Zanata? On zanata.org
can see a bunch of test projects, a few Red Hat documentation ones and JBoss
(also Red Hat's). Which other projects have
installed their own Zanata server and how many words are they translating?
*Pootle is a much more openly developed and widely accepted platform*. The
leads (Dwayne and Friedel) are true open-sourcers, their team is presenting
in many major open-source conferences, they're trusted by many large
Office), proprietary ones (Evernote, Grooveshark, Rdio) and their feature
is amazing. At FOSDEM
I'll go out for drinks with Friedel.
When there are tools like Pootle out there, why on Earth would Fedora even
consider Zanata? *Where is the research and comparison between the options
Transifex has 20+ people working full-time on the platform. A big chunk of
our time is invested on open-source, community projects
;. There are projects on
Tx with as many as 1 Billion words being translated by 14.000 people. Joomla
2.7K translators contributing on 250 projects.
If the goal is to have a *vibrant and successful Fedora Localization
Project*, then there are so many things to be done which make the "which
tool" discussion, quite frankly, stupid. Here are a couple:
- Use Transifex's Reports
to constantly recognize our most active translators. Send them a t-shirt or
even simply mention them in the release notes.
- Nurture teams
by identifying inactive members and refreshing them.
- Help community members prioritize
which projects to translate first and remove old content.
Do we want a successful community L10n project? These are the things we
should be discussing. And these are some of the things the Transifex team
is investing on. "What does the roadmap look like" is a key question for
the research on which tool to choose (which never happened).
As a Fedora contributor, I'm expecting a discussion for such an important
topic to have higher responsibility than the one I've seen so far. This is
an extremely important topic which has no place for hastiness or egos.
I'd be happy to help and wear my Fedora hat.
Founder & CEO, Transifex