Internationalization for developers

Some time ago, I wrote a document that is targeted to all developers around the world, who creates their products and speak only english.

It may help you understand how the localization process looks like, what are the common problems and how can you make localizers life easier by avoiding small mistakes that result in their drama.

Feel free to comment, edit, update, and promote it. I hope you’ll find it interesting 🙂


Free Culture

Yea, I know. It’s a shame. It should be lecture number 1 (just after lecture number 0 by Eric Raymond). Yesterday I was lurking at the EMPIK in Warsaw looking for something to read, and found “Free Culture” by Lawrence Lessig.

It’s hard to review the whole book after reading just a half of it, but I kind of like it. It’s a good book as an overview of the ideology we/I believe in. Just like CatB is a great overview of how do we think about code, FC is great as a sociologist overview of the relations between the law, culture, corporations and society that tries to preserve as much capitalism as possible while bringing back the “good of humanity” back into the game.

When I’m talking with my friends who’re on the opposite side of the fence, about open standards, p2p networks, patents law, they always claim that “we” are the ones who hate patents, who are against private property. It’s a bullshit no 1. Lawrence writes a lot about the mechanisms oligopoly corporations use to shift the conflict from “corporation good vs. innovations” into “private property vs. piracy”. Of course, the piracy is a problem, and I do understand they want to fight it, but what they’re doing is also putting free world into the same group as pirates. That’s a huge marketing lie, that people tends to buy. I hope that books like this will make it easier to understand what’s the position of Free Software/Free Culture movements.

One thing that Lawrence didn’t write about (at least in the first half), that drives me crazy, is how corporations use society good will to help them keep their rights, to push the law into the anti-human direction.

The ultimate rule we all use in all civilizations is a presumption of innocence. Another one is that you can do whatever is not forbidden by the law.

And today, the corporations trying to preserve their rights, are violating the two above with so many people silently agreeing on that. Look. Piracy is bad. We all do agree. But p2p network can be and is used not only for piracy, but also for legal file sharing between people. Forcing p2p to close in the name of corporation rights is a violation of presumption of innocence.
DRM promoted in the name of protection against piracy is violating rule of my freedom to do anything which is not forbidden by law.

They’re acting like if they want to say “Because we have technical and algorithmic limitations to find a way to block the bad without blocking right things, we’re going to block them all, because then we’re sure that we also blocked the bad things“.

Now. I do understand THEM. I’d do the same. Cut costs (preparing better solution would cost more), keep control, control makes sure that you’ll stay on the market etc. The only problem I see is that so many people support them in this so much that they agree on everything, they agree to limit their own freedom in the name of corporation’s good.

There is one more problem. Once you restrict in the law, it’s very hard to revert it. Once the corporations have what they want, we’ll suffer a lot before finding a way to remove those restrictions. It’s natural. Who the hell would allow us to do this once they have what they want? And they have payed people who lobby, not we. They have amazing amounts of money, not we. And it’s far too serious game for them to be “good”. If they’ll loose, they may wake up in the world which moves forward leaving them behind.
DRM is a method to workaround the law about culture products. The law that says that you can buy it and use it. You can buy a movie, music, book, and use it because you bought it. In many years timeframe, the book, music, movie will go to public domain, and new artists will be able to reuse your art to create something new. Just like Shakespear did, Walt Disney or fantasy does with legends of the old days.
With DRM, they give you the art, but the art can be used only together with a piece of software to decode it. Instead of buying a music, you’re buying a licence for a software to present you this piece of art. Everything is encoded so you don’t have access to the art you bought directly, only through that piece of software. Thank you. They pwned you. They say when, how often, how many times and where you can listen to your song. They can even decide if you can play it loud or not. If you can play it on sundays, it’s a software. They can do anything. In the name of fighting with piracy, they just took over the control on how you can use what they sold you. And there’s no public domain, cause they want to sell licenses forever. Can you call it a better place to live? Can you say that they’re making that in the name of preserving choice and innovation? Do you think that humanity will benefit or loose on this? Who is the winner? Does it win only with piracy?

Why the world agrees on such an overkill?