[GRASSLIST:7265] Re: Brazilian Forum for GRASS

Roger Bivand Roger.Bivand at nhh.no
Tue Jun 21 16:20:04 EDT 2005


On Tue, 21 Jun 2005, Christian Ferreira wrote:

> Roger,
> Well, I think that Paulo is not very right saying:
> > > I feel people in Brasil are very scared by foreign languages, so as I
> > > am not, I could help a lot putting my knowledge of the language to
> > > help those who have difficulties understanding english.
> Many people (in Brazil) just don't have money to pay classes for study
> another language. It's a social problem, not just fear.
> I and some other translators here in Brazil just want to bring GRASS
> for this people, not create a parallel community and forget foreign
> people. Ok?

Sorry, part of this exchange left the list, now it's back. I'm not sure 
that unwillingness to express opinions/views/needs in foreign languages is 
just a social problem, although that is a big part of it. It is also about 
being willing to take part, and some people just don't feel able, in their 
native tongue or in a foreign one.

But there are many examples of very good observations being made by people 
who are not happy to use English on a list like this. My concern was that 
the larger GRASS community should be able to benefit from your valuable 
initiative, and this depends on intermediators, who feel able to pass on 
information both ways. I'm concerned that valuable user experience may 
stay within local fora (not just this case, other user groups face the 
same question). 

I'm concerned because the open source movement crucially depends on
parallel debugging - if enough people are looking at the same problem at
the same time, and sharing their observations, it will be solved. Nobody
has a monopoly of knowledge, but enough observations of odd things
happening in different settings will lead to somebody realising - aha,
it's the assumption in line 573 of thatfile.c. Without lots of
intercommunicating users, this may not work so well. So, if you like, in 
using open sourrce software, we have an unwritten obligation to make our 
voices heard, up to and including contributing patches, documentation, and 
opening discussion fora. 

So, not doubts, just a reflection about critical mass. We've seen an 
example today of how good this can be, contribution of internationalised 
messages in an Indian language. GRASS, and particularly GRASS 6, needs 
both users and contributors, and certainly, confidence in or access to 
English as a medium is not the main issue. But I would argue that 
communication of important information to the community at large does 
matter, otherwise we may not notice that import of a particular format of 
raster data, for example, systematically shifts by one cell, if there is 
just one message in each language forum. Someone (who?) needs to watch 
several, and pass on useful reports of problems. No more than that, but 
vital for open source software.


> Also, my project (Poseidon Linux) website is holding a Forum to bring
> this "scared" people  to GRASS, and not to Arcview like most people do
> here (using a pirated copy!!).
> I think that some of this people will naturally reach this mailing
> list as they interest for GRASS grows.
> Cheers,

Roger Bivand
Economic Geography Section, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of
Economics and Business Administration, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen,
Norway. voice: +47 55 95 93 55; fax +47 55 95 95 43
e-mail: Roger.Bivand at nhh.no

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