The Basics ...
|Full Name||Arafat el Medini|
|Country of origin||Tunisia/Germany|
|Residing in||Hamburg, Germany|
1. Is there a project or site that you are affiliated with ? If so, how ?
I am affiliated with Arabeyes, the GNOME project and the Freedesktop project.
I am mainly involved in translation work. Doing and coordinating translation of the Gnome Desktop environment, and right now developing standardization guidelines for future translation attempts. I am also trying to register Arabeyes as a legal entity within the German law.
2. What is one thing that most people don't know about you (hobby, pet-peeve, abilities, etc) ?
Maybe the majority think that I am an informatics student, but in reality I study Physics! I've also been involved in Karate for many years! I like doing 3D modelling and Web-design too!
Yeah we have a pet here, a rabbit, but I really don't like him so much, as everytime he's in my room he eats everything he finds!
Abilities! I can move my ears! Really!!!
3. What are your thoughts on Linux and open-source ?
Regarding Open source: the ideology. Businesses based on linux don't have 'selling software' as a goal, the whole process of making software changes, companies begin to share code and concentrate on services, this is simply terrific! No more monopolies, great services and robust software.
The combination Linux/OSS is a killer: you have a kernel as an example to windows, solaris and darwin to compare against, and this kernel runs on everything from a watch to a server, and every bug can be squashed by everyone everywhere everytime, anyone can patch it or change it and suite it to their needs. Flexibility with robustness. This is in my eyes is the future.
4. What got you interested in Linux and open-source ?
I ran into Linux in winter '99. I've been into computers and computer science for more then 13 years now. In its early years linux was promoted as a powerful Desktop solution for "free people", I am a very "alternative" person in my world view: I like alternative music, b-movies and that sort of stuff so when I heard about the freedom choice, the power and the freshness of Linux I thought I'd give it a try. Linux as the PC world's under-dog got me hooked-up. A C/C++ compiler was also free (the gcc) and I thought, yeah as I want to learn C anyway that would be great to have a free compiler! Yet still I haven't had a chance to learn C till today :/
5. What are Linux/open-source's major advantages, as far as you are concerned ?
Open source software is transparent, I feel very comfortable as I know exactly what I have in my box, it is in my eyes totally secure cz every hole gets instantanously patched. Linux is rock-solid, the box never crashes, it's really shoking to see a computer box that never crashes. As for the open source ideology, the movement itself! Open source does not mean for free nor is there only one open source license, so the whole social and scientifical impact and it's energy to create new "computer ethics", did you know for eg. that any open source license must apply for more then one and only one product? You can't make a license only for one software product you are selling, so what consequences does this bring? this is very interesting!
6. What irks/displeases you about the open-source movement ?
Software development is still mainly controlled by companies, the concept is still too geeky and too few volunteers everywhere. It's not innovative at all regarding software technology and too slow in my eyes. The movement is very flexibility of and has a very strong ideology, but its body itself is still very weak.
7. How do you see Arabic fitting into the open-source movement ?
Open source is an avant-gardistic movement, so at the forefront of globalization, with ppl from everywhere contributing to software which is nowhere only residing on abstract CVS trees. Unfortunately the Arabic culture is not participating in the globalization process at all. So the conseuqence is that Arabs and Arabic are only "cutomers" of that movement consuming what the movement produces.
8. How have you been involved in Linux/open-source ?
Back in 2002 I wanted to combine my enthusiasm for the gnome project with my love for the Arabic world. The translation status of Arabic within gnome was catastrophic with something about 30% of the whole desktop translated. So I informed the gnome people that I wanted to start translating gnome into Arabic and they pointed me to the Arabeyes project.
9. How will you become more involved in Linux/open-source ?
I want to learn C and hopefully I'll finally write my own gnome app. I would like to then move from simply translating gnome to standardization work, the promotion of standardization of Arabic translation tools and methods will be my next goal.
10. What would you say your major contributions to Arabic Linux/open-source have been ?
Translating gnome to Arabic, to give the Arabic language the place it deserves in the gnome world.
I also helped in searching and fixing many bugs in gnome to make it the platform with the BEST support for the Arabic language in the whole computer world.
11. How do you see Linux/open-source fitting into the Arab community ?
I think, open source is, if really embraced, the ideoglogical boost to get the Arabs directly into the next level, it is like making a jump from the middel ages directly to post-modernism. It would allow people all over the Arabic region to share technology in a simple standardized way. The consequences of such a process are terrific. OSS software, so for eg. Linux, is great because it is mostly free, the Arabic world is very poor, so this technology due to it being so advanced and free can only be beneficial. OSS software is... Open source ;) so it can be tailored to meet the exact demends of the Arabic citizen directly without asking a company and waiting for a patch for years.
12. What is the ideal path for development and progress in your opinion ?
1) A totally open mind
2) Hard work
3) Enjoy life to its fullest ;)
13. What areas, in your opinion, need the most work ?
People speak too much do too little.
14. What would you like to see happen sooner rather than later ?
Many many many people work on FOSS projects. This will make FOSS really spread, we will get more developers and more and more people will get interested.
15. What gets you moving and wanting to contribute ?
Getting the Arabic language into the 21st century, and getting technology available for the Arabic person. I want to have every API written in Arabic glyphs !
16. What Arabic Linux accomplishments have really excited you ?
Definetely the Arabeyes project. It is a freakin place to change and develop idea that's what we always needed and still need. Something like makha taht assur (if someone knows it)
17. What are some of your favourite links/channels ?
videogames: gamefront.de (german) ign.com (only the nintendo channels)
Star trek: trekweb.com
Linux/FOSS: planet.gnome.org planet.arabeyes.org linux4arab.com
misc: spiegel.de (news site) yomiuri.co.jp (news site)
channel: #arabeyes #gnome #ubuntu
18. What would you tell others to get them involved in the Linux/open-source movement ?
You'll be famous! You'll change the world! It's free of charge! People will envy you!
19. How would you go about expanding Arabic Linux in general ?
Make a distro that REALLY supports Arabic in every aspect from scratch, make R&D centers like Arabeyes so more Arabeyes' and far more marketing. People need to become aware of Linux, and especially of the concept of an "Arabic Linux".
20. Where do you see Arabic Linux in five years ?
We will have standards, and big deployments. I think after 5 years the real fun will start, with a mature set of standards by then, mature Desktops and big deployments marketing and gaining developers will be our biggest challenge.
21. Where do you see yourself in five years ?
That I complete my studies suceesfully and complete tavelling the world.
22. Do you have any advice for the Arabic-speaking world regarding Linux and open-source ?
Yeah, NEVER EVER underestimate you mother tongue, Arabic is a wonderful language; it IS modern and it IS able to handle modern informatics like any other language out there. You'll only be able to fully handle science in your own language, not in any other language.
And be optimistic about the future of Arabic in the FOSS world - it is a very bright future!