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Free Software In Iran, KDE In Farsi 510

Posted by timothy
from the pretty-screenshots dept.
Elektroschock writes "KDE, the leading *nix desktop environment, is translated to Farsi (=Persian). Now native language KDE can be used in Iran as well. Farsi is written from left to right. Full story at Dot KDE. Arash Zeini (KDE Farsi) wrote an intresting article about FLOSS in Iran. His view: "It is not a secret anymore that FLOSS is gaining momentum all over the world. We witness an international move and acceptance of FLOSS in the private as well as in the public sector."" Update: 12/29 16:37 GMT by T : That should read "Farsi is written from right to left." (Thanks to Thomas Zander for pointing that out.)
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Free Software In Iran, KDE In Farsi

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  • Correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by MntlChaos (602380) on Monday December 29, 2003 @03:42AM (#7826214)
    Farsi is written RIGHT to LEFT. not the other way around. fix please
  • KDE propaganda (Score:4, Insightful)

    by glassesmonkey (684291) * on Monday December 29, 2003 @03:43AM (#7826218) Homepage Journal
    Now that the war in Iraq and Afganistan have died down... I see the KDE/Gnome wars are finally getting the front page /. attention they so deserve. Am I the only one who read the summary and thought the description "the leading desktop environment" seemed to be included just to stir up trouble?

    Disclaimer: I prefer KDE but really like Gnome config menus
    • Yes, I reacted to it as well. Bloddy unnessesary and pretty childish.
      • I find the whining about the comment to be childish. Every single company and/or ogranisation claims to be "the best" or "leading" in their respective field. What do you suggest they should do? Say something like "Company XXXX, the mediocre company producing YYYYY".

        And the fact is that KDE IS the "leading" desktop on several fronts. They were the first real desktop environment, and that alone makes them "leading". They propably have the largest userbase, and the technology behind the desktop is considerab
    • To me, it did not seem that the term "the leading desktop environment" was used in an exclutinary manner - rather, it seemed that the intention was to explain what KDE is (to the occasional Windows-only user that happens upon /.)

      Sort of like Ford, the leading auto maker (even though they are probably not the worlds largest).

      -tor

      PS. I use Gnome and WindowMaker. KDE is a bit too "all-or-nothing" for me.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        To me, it did not seem that the term "the leading desktop environment" was used in an exclutinary manner - rather, it seemed that the intention was to explain what KDE is (to the occasional Windows-only user that happens upon /.)

        From past experience, if it was Gnome described that way then I suspect that the whole discussion would be dominated by irrate KDE fans, screaming about the injustice of the world. For a recent example, see the discussions about UserLinux choosing Gnome as its desktop.

        As it is, t
        • From past experience, if it was Gnome described that way then I suspect that the whole discussion would be dominated by irrate KDE fans, screaming about the injustice of the world. For a recent example, see the discussions about UserLinux choosing Gnome as its desktop.

          That was an issue about a major figure in OSS making a decision to completely remove all traces of one of the two major desktop environments from his distribution, to the extent that not even its supporting libraries would be provided. And
    • Yeah, it was a little bit superflous and a little trollish from the Gnome vs KDE point of view. On the otherhand, KDE/Qt probably *is* the best environment for languages that eschew the left to right orientation which is largely a Latin language thing. It's certainly the one environment on *any* platform that I've seen praised the most for its BiDi support, and wasn't the state of Windows BiDi support the reason Israel (Hebrew is another right to left language) gave for dumping Microsoft?
  • by seanadams.com (463190) * on Monday December 29, 2003 @03:43AM (#7826220) Homepage
    Farsi is written from left to right.

    !si ti egaugnul yzarc a tahw dna
    • maybe if you spelled egaugnul right we could really tell what you meant... ;)
    • by Stephen Samuel (106962) <`samuel' `at' `bcgreen.com'> on Monday December 29, 2003 @04:04AM (#7826296) Homepage Journal
      From the website: <gtml lang="fa" dir="RTL">

      Farsi, like most middle-east languages, appears to be written right-to-left -- the same as our numbers are -- When the original algebra texts from Persia were translated, the translator kept the right to Left form of the numbers (little-endian). This is the reason for the big-endian / little-endian dicotomy in modern day computers -- we've been writing our numbers backwards for the last thousand years!

      • by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday December 29, 2003 @04:32AM (#7826407)
        When the original algebra texts from Persia were translated, the translator kept the right to Left form of the numbers (little-endian).

        Maybe so, but Roman numbers are also little-endian, and so are Chinese and Thai. I don't think it has anything to do with the way words are written, when speaking we say "one thousand five hundred and twenty one", and write the figures down in the same order -- it's natural to give the most important, biggest, part first.

        So actually Arabic scripts are the exception, as not the origin, if you look at the sequence of writing.

        • I don't think it has anything to do with the way words are written, when speaking we say "one thousand five hundred and twenty one", and write the figures down in the same order -- it's natural to give the most important, biggest, part first.

          So actually Arabic scripts are the exception, as not the origin, if you look at the sequence of writing.


          I don't quite understand what you mean with "natural" and "first" since for a person writing or reading a language right to left the rightmost part of a word (o
          • And as far as saying the biggest figures first not all western languages are like that, eg. in German the numbers are spoken like 55="five and fifty".

            But this doesn't apply when the numbers are larger than 100, because 155 = "hundred five and fifty". (German and Dutch.)

            JP

          • I don't quite understand what you mean with "natural" and "first" since for a person writing or reading a language right to left the rightmost part of a word (or number) naturally comes first.

            That's why I said Arabic was an exception. "in German the numbers are spoken ..." seems German is too (you might consider the English *-teen numbers to be like that too), so I was too quick to generalise -- but all the languages I have a nodding acquaintance with do speak and write numbers big to small. But I still

        • when speaking we say "one thousand five hundred and twenty one"...

          No, we don't.

          We say "one thousand five hundred twenty one." Or we say "one thousand five hundred and twenty one hundredths." The word "and" in a spoken number is used to mark the decimal. Doing otherwise is classically incorrect, confusing to even casual listeners because there's no set of rules for sticking the word into long numbers (Would we say "One million and one hundred thousand and fifty?" Didn't think so.) and makes the spea

          • No, we don't.

            Who is "we"? As an Australian, I do. and makes the speaker sound, at best, like he's rambling on, on the verge of incoherency.

            No, just not American. Try not to be insulting about the way other people speak.

            • As an Australian, I do.

              Fine. Cool. Wonderful.

              Now, so that I may be educated properly about other cultures, please provide me with the Australian-version-of-the-English-language grammatical rules for inserting the word "and" into spoken numbers.

              I'm waiting.

              • Now, so that I may be educated properly about other cultures, please provide me with the Australian- version-of-the-English-language grammatical rules for inserting the word "and" into spoken numbers.

                X hundred AND Y
                X thousand, Y hundred AND Z
                Maybe you can explain why Americans customarily write dates MDY? Seems perverse to me, but what would a yob like me know.

                • Maybe you can explain why Americans customarily write dates MDY? Seems perverse to me

                  No can do. MDY seems just as perverse to me. It's totally illogical. Still, it's a rule that, by consensus, helps folks communicate. I imagine that as the world gets smaller, the rule will change and we'll adopt the more logical DMY order for writing dates.

                  None of the above, however, changes the fact that using "and" in spoken numbers for any purpose other than marking the decimal is highly illogical, too. I can o

                  • None of the above, however, changes the fact that using "and" in spoken numbers for any purpose other than marking the decimal is highly illogical, too.

                    Sorry, this is not a "fact", but a preference. And I mark the decimal by saying "point".

                    If I had to justify the use of "and" (which I don't, it's just common usage in many places, especially British Commonwealth) I would say it removes ambiguity in some cases: eg, "200 six-packs". In "American" this could sound like "206 packs". In "Commonwealth" it's un

            • That's funny, I thought the erudite poster was speaking of British practice, because I (American) have never heard such a rule and I do hear Americans say things like "one thousand five hundred and one". Perhaps the poster is indeed American, but I think it's telling that you made that assumption.
              • Perhaps the poster is indeed American, but I think it's telling that you made that assumption.

                I made that assumption (by the way, since you raised the question, a brief look at his other posts reveals he at least lives in America) since I've been lectured before on this point (maybe even by him, I don't recall, but he seems to have a canned speech on the subject). I think it more "telling" that he assumed I was wrong, not just speaking according to diferent rules.

                • I think your lecturer was displaying a bit of British language purism, Queen's English and all that (of course the Queen's English... ba da boom!). Spot his spelling of 'realised', not 'realized'. Make the appropriate nationalistic slurs, not all boors are American. Have a good day.

        • ...write the figures down in the same order -- it's natural to give the most important, biggest, part first.

          That's the same reason I mentally add numbers left-to-right. My wife thinks I'm nuts, but it's easier for me. You can get a quick estimate of the results by only adding the leftmost 2 or 3 digits instead of working through the entire problem; the numbers with the largest effect on the result are processed first.

          The only problem is that you have to maintain a stack instead of a bit to handle carr

      • by jez9999 (618189) on Monday December 29, 2003 @06:06AM (#7826584) Homepage Journal
        Our numbers are written backwards? The mantissa is *right-justified*, but I see nothing backwards about the way we write numbers.
      • Surely numbers as we write them now (in the West) are big endian i.e. the biggest power of 10 comes first.
  • what is FLOSS (Score:5, Informative)

    by bhny (97647) <bh&usa,net> on Monday December 29, 2003 @03:44AM (#7826223)
    http://www.flora.ca/floss.shtml
  • though it is weird (Score:2, Interesting)

    by demonhold (735615)
    that such a concept as LINUX and free-software in all its spectrum of variants is becoming the choice of many dictatorial regimes that have no access to the microsoft and apple cadre of products....

    is LINUX gonna be a troyan horse that brings freedom through software or a tool that will make tech savvy to many non-democratic states...

  • farsi in kde (Score:2, Informative)

    by SinaSa (709393)
    farsi kde has been around for a while. ive been giving it to a lot of relatives to use when their computers go down because of virii, etc and they wish to use farsi. so yeah. this is good though. the majority of farsi software for windows ends up completley screwing up the computer. its usually virii infected and when you remove it the keymap doesnt restore properly leaving you with a well screwed computer.
  • by GerardM (535367) on Monday December 29, 2003 @04:11AM (#7826326)
    I would like to know how to use two languages on one system so that I have a Farsi environment or an English environment at will.

    I have many friends, among them Iranians, Turks and Israeli, who would like to have a bilingual system. Multiple keyboards are also an issue. Preferably it would need a switch to go from one language to the next alternatively a reboot would be acceptable.

    Any ideas, resources that I might look at?

    Thanks,
    Gerard
    • When you switch the language in KDE, all newly started apps appear in the new language.

      But it's probably more convenient to set up several accounts and re-login or start a new session and switch among them with Ctrl+Alt+F7 and Ctrl+Alt+F8



    • You could try using any version of Windows since NT 4 or thereabouts. Being able to use non-european scripts is only new and exciting in the linux world.

      Although I have been told with a straight face that MULE is a perfectly good substitute :)

  • by theolein (316044) on Monday December 29, 2003 @04:19AM (#7826360) Journal
    I can well imagine that, as with any article on /. relating to anything not understood/foreign/not american there will be a fairly high noise to signal ratio around here. So, I thought I could mention that Farsi (written from right to left in a modifed Arabic script) is an Indoeuropean language with no relation whatsover to Arabic, apart from the script (The Alphabet for those who think that script means VBS or Perl) and loan words.

    Iran, with its odd mix of religious and democratic government (The religious side seems to be making it very hard for the elected officials to do anything), also has an interesting approach to copyright. According to Islamic law If I understand it correctly(), God is the source of all invention and creation and therefore the holder of all copyright. That means that things like MS anti-piracy drives are unknown there, as practically everything is pirated.

    While it certainly is an interesting way of looking at things, I can see countries like the US (surprise, they don't get on well with the Iranians) making it very difficult for the Iranians ever getting into the WTO because so called IP has no value there (Read: Britney will not make much cash on CD sales in Teheran and the Matrix 2&3 will flop just as it did in the west, but for other reasons).
    • According to what I know of Iran, Azeri, the language of Azerbaijan is spoken by about 25% of the population, but uses the same Arabic script and is interestingly referred to as Turkish by most Iranians.
    • If that were entirely true, no-one would get paid in Iran, since everything would be considered the 'product of God', since God is the source of all creation.
      • >> If that were entirely true, no-one would get paid in Iran, since everything would be considered the 'product of God', since God is the source of all creation.

        No, according to Islam God is the absolute owner of everything and people who "own" them are persons AUTHORIZED to do transactions and spend accordingly(think of someone who has leased it or hired, but dont have to pay for the lease). The only condition is that all the transactions have to be according to Islamic principles. Making profit is
    • >> According to Islamic law If I understand it correctly(), God is the source of all invention and creation and therefore the holder of all copyright

      You make an interesting point. Its interesting to think of Islam and Free softwares. In fact proprietory software itself is not very Islamic. Islam is very much against putting obstacles in reading or learing. Actually Quran start with the word "READ"("Iqra'h in Arabic) and free information is an essential thing according to Islam. Proprietory softwares
      • Islam is very much against putting obstacles in reading or learing. Actually Quran start with the word "READ"("Iqra'h in Arabic) and free information is an essential thing according to Islam.

        Considering then that Islam is the dominant religion *only* in countries that are behind the rest technologically, in spite of the fact that they are also the "cradle of civilization", and have therefore been populated longer than any western country, does that indicate that keeping knowledge hidden is actually condus

        • by pirhana (577758) on Monday December 29, 2003 @07:59AM (#7826789)
          >> Considering then that Islam is the dominant religion *only* in countries that are behind the rest technologically, in spite of the fact that they are also the "cradle of civilization", and have therefore been populated longer than any western country, does that indicate that keeping knowledge hidden is actually condusive to building civilization?

          No, not at all IMO. These "islamic countries" are lagging behind in technology and education NOW. Its true. But that was not the case earlier. They had a glorious past when they were well advanced in these things. What happened later was they deviated from Islamic values and principles including(but not limited to) education and information. Now what they are following is not at all Islamic. I would say most of the Islamic countries are actually feudalistic societies. Also, the western societies didnt advance when they kept information "hidden". On the contray , they advanced when information and knowledge was essentially FREE. Now they are adopting a "hidden" approach in technology and education. Lets see where it takes them in the coming periods. IMHO, this will have a negative impact on their lead in the coming periods.

          • No, not at all IMO. These "islamic countries" are lagging behind in technology and education NOW. Its true. But that was not the case earlier. They had a glorious past when they were well advanced in these things.

            Hmm, I admit I don't know much history of the Middle east from about 600AD 'till the renaissance, but I seem to recall that Persia (never called Persia!) spent a lot of time fighting Rome as a nation in decline, and then Rome started to decline. Rome took over 1000 years to die off, though. Any

            • >>Anyway, last I heard about Persia being a relevant technological power was in the 500's AD when they were fighting the Roman general Belisarius. At that time, they were feudalistic.

              Let me disagree with you here. What they had at that time was not feudalistic. They had perfect Islamic rule at that ime in Persia and it was radically different from feudalism. There were no poverty and prosperity of that period is well known( I am talking about the period of 600 ADs and all). But later on things got c
              • Let me disagree with you here. What they had at that time was not feudalistic.

                Hmm, probably not the best thing in the world, but I am basing my knowledge of Persians against Belisarius on a series of alternative fiction, aptly named "The Belisarius Series", by Baen books. Check it out on the Baen Free Library. There's a thorough exploration of Persian society, discussing the "Cold war" and the hot war that existed between Persia and Rome in that time period, and the specific period I'm referring to is b

                • >> Hmm, probably not the best thing in the world

                  I think we were talking about different time period. I was mentioning the period AFTER Islam. And you refer to any history books, you will find that it was a period of prosperity,justice and education. I know before Islam, the condition was different.

                  >> All I know about what happens after that is some basic stuff about Mohammed and his journey to Mecca (or was it Medina?).

                  Medina(Actually he travelled from Mecca to Madina)

                  >>Ironic, you're
                  • I'll check it out. You've exposed a 1500-year gap in my knowledge of history in the area, and I'm not happy about that. I'll have to correct it. :) The questions that immediately come to mind are "If they were so prosperous, why have they lagged behind in industrializing? If Islam is [all this stuff], why are the Middle East countries seeped in monarchy and theocracy?" The answers will invariably be in the history. They always are...

                    • If they were so prosperous, why have they lagged behind in industrializing?

                      IANAH (historian), but I understand that the arrival of the Mongol hordes, under Ghengis Khan, began the downfall of the middle-east civilizations; and that this downfall continued under the hegemony of the Ottoman empire. Many of the Islamic elite were killed, leading to a huge loss of their intellectual and cultural traditions. This, in part, explains why there is a big problem with fundamentalism in the middle east at the mome

      • Actually Quran start with the word "READ"

        Are you sure about this? I was under the impression that it started with the word 'recite', since for the first the generations after the prophet it was not written down. When it was written down, modifications to the original were not allowed (since changing the literal word of God makes it no longer the literal word of God).

    • Please dont call the theocratic government democratic. Though the moderates or "reformists" would like one to believe that you can have democracy within a theocracy, it is not possible. The new generation does not want the theocracy and they are beginning to understand that "reforms" simply can not happen (due to how the constitution was written etc.), but have not come to the conclusion that a revolution is the only option left . The Islamic Revolution is what brought the clerics into power, and people
    • So, I thought I could mention that Farsi (written from right to left in a modifed Arabic script) is an Indoeuropean language

      This is correct

      with no relation whatsover to Arabic

      This is incorrect

      In fact Farsi has adopted many arabic words, I think nearly half of the vocabulary is arabic, I am a native arabic speaker and I can understand many Farsi sentences (when reading them) or at least guess what they could mean although I have never learned Farsi

    • According to Islamic law If I understand it correctly(), God is the source of all invention and creation and therefore the holder of all copyright. That means that things like MS anti-piracy drives are unknown there, as practically everything is pirated.

      That sounds more like a rationalization. China has practically the same policy, but it's because it's in their national interest, as there is a preponderance of foreign copyrighted material. The U.S. didn't recognize foreign copyrights and patents in

  • ...any news yet whether North Korea and Syria have plans to adopt free software?
  • Arash Zeini (KDE Farsi) wrote an intresting article about FLOSS in Iran. His view: "It is not a secret anymore that FLOSS is gaining momentum all over the world. We witness an international move and acceptance of FLOSS in the private as well as in the public sector."

    Yes, dentists the world over agree that the collective state of mouths in Iran and the world over has improved since this widespread adoption of FLOSS technology.

    --

    But seriously, some acronyms work and others don't. FLOSS never seemed like
  • by Myuu (529245) <myuu@pojo.com> on Monday December 29, 2003 @04:49AM (#7826450) Homepage
    Well I know my saying for the next war, "No Blood For Proprietary Software"
  • DAMN those teachers taught us Farsi the wrong way... right to left.

    Now I have to take corrective training.
  • Even thoe I don't write or speak the language I think that it is great that the world is getting closer to using Linux in their respective languages! I don't believe we should force english or any other European language on to any one.
  • No copyrights? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Emil Brink (69213) on Monday December 29, 2003 @05:41AM (#7826534) Homepage
    Well, according to the article, Iran is not a signer of the international copyright law. This means, as far as I understand (I'm no lawyer), that "copyright" as we understand it has no legal standing there.

    I associate "free" and "open source" software with software made available under various licenses, i.e. pieces of legalese that use the power of copyright to control what can and cannot be done with the software. Now, if Iran's laws don't recognize even basic copyright for whatever reason, then surely these licenses are meaningless there, and everything can be legally copied in the eyes of local law?

    From this perspective, I would be a bit catious as a free software (GPL licensed) author to actively support Irani users. I mean, if they give themselves the right to circumvent my license, and thus "steal" my software, why should I help them by making the software more attractive? Now, of course there is no monetary loss to me from limitless copying of software that is free to redistribute to begin with, but the different legal "flavor" of it all disturbs me somehow. Maybe it's just me being cheap, again. I think I need to meditate a bit over this.
    • I wouldn't worry. Stealing your software would imply that they close the source and sell it as theirs. But, you can't do that in Iran, according to the article, because nobody is willing to pay more than the prize of the CD anyway. Which is exactly permitted by all free software licenses.

      In fact, this sounds like RMS' dream, all software is in the public domain and there is no incentive for proprietary software.

    • Re:No copyrights? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by openmtl (586918)
      Why do they have to sign some International Copyright Agreement ?

      Its domestic law that counts as it sets the obligations of the people in that country. As far as I can see (IANAL) they have fairly standard copyright laws except that the time period is shorter than e.g. US or EU copyright law.

      Unesco copyright summary for Iran [unesco.org]

      Obviously certain corporates would have an issue with the lack of extended copyright as the US has but the intent of copyright was always to help the authors in their own lifetim

    • Re:No copyrights? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Elektroschock (659467)
      Whether someone "steals" GPL or closed software makes no difference as you can't make money out of closed source programs.

      By the way: Farsi is not only used by Iranian in Iran but also the native language of exiled Iranians. The second language of Iranians is usually french.
  • by Johnny Pissoff (674214) <johnny_pissoff2003@yahoo . c om> on Monday December 29, 2003 @07:53AM (#7826773) Homepage
    Excuse me for being a pedant here. But the only reason the word "Farsi" has become current in English is because back in 50's, 60's, 70's neither the f_____g State Department nor the CIA knew that we had a perfectly good and venerable word in English for the language, i.e. "Persian." Listen, to anyone who knows the language (own horn tooting here) it sounds silly. It's completely mispronounced as it's employed in English, the accented syllable for one is just wrong. We don't say, "Do you speak francais?" (imagine it said with American accent, butcher the vowels, heavily glide the last syllable, clearly pronounce the "n"), and the same with any other language. Why? Because we already have perfectly good words for these languages in English. Calling it "Farsi" only highlights Western ignorance and it's exoticisation of the Eastern/Muslim/Oriental other. So why use it? Az kasi ke nedane va nedane ke nedane.... or words to that effect (if memory serves)
    • Listen, to anyone who knows the language (own horn tooting here)

      I knew someone among the /. crowd would speak Farsi.
    • I am Iranian and I speak Farsi. This is actually a hot debate, even within Iran!!! What do we call our language? Well, the main problem with "Persian" is that it harkens back to the days of "Persia" and this is not politically good. When one says anything like Pers-blah it brings to mind the western rule/view of Fars/Pars/Persia/Iran/Aria. Look, the land of today's Iran has been ruled by a wide range of people. It is not a land of set constants. Just like when the country decided to change it's internationa
  • It doesn't matter what the CD includes, only the number of CDs decides over the price. For example packages like Microsoft Office, cost slightly more as they come on multiple CDs; the price might go up to $10.

    So Knoppix, a single CD with KDE and whatever else you want to put on it that just works when you boot it, should sell better than the half a dozen Microsoft CDs that would do the same thing with much more effort.

  • by ajs (35943) <ajs&ajs,com> on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:22AM (#7827010) Homepage Journal
    Ports to languages like Farsi are interesting, but maintainers of applications really need to focus on Arabic, Hindi, whatever the primary Chinese used for computers is, Spanish and English. If your application ships with these languages, you cover your bases VERY nicely. Let localized distributions help you out on the smaller languages (*cough*klingon*cough*).

    Don't get me wrong, I applaud these people for their work, but package maintainers can easily get caught up in a sort of fad around certain translations, and sometimes that hurts if the biggest languages are not covered well.

    On another front, Gnome also supports right-to-left languages [gnome.org], so don't feel you have to chose KDE... choose whichever supports your needs best from an application standpoint.
  • by Richthofen80 (412488) on Monday December 29, 2003 @09:33AM (#7827057) Homepage
    ... but the people of Iran, that might be another thing entirely.

  • ?

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