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PanAfriL10n - PanAfrLoc - TrendsInLocalisationAndOpen-sourceSoftware

This section will discuss localisation in Africa in more detail and how open-source software is progressing and potentially meeting localisation needs in the continent.

Localisation was discussed in the Introduction.


"The leading desktop interfaces for the open-source Linux operating system—KDE and GNOME—are, between them, available in more than twice as many languages as Windows. KDE has already been localised for 42 languages, with a further 46 in the pipeline. Similarly, Mozilla, an open-source web browser, now speaks 65 languages, with 34 more to follow. OpenOffice, the leading open-source office suite, is available in 31 languages, including Slovenian, Basque and Galician and Indian languages such as Gujarati, Devanagari, Kannada and Malayalam. And another 44 languages including Icelandic, Lao, Latvian, Welsh and Yiddish are on the way." The Economist, 4 December 2003.

Localisation - another development activity

Although the introduction and application of ICT, and the projects of localisation have unique aspects, they are still in large measure still processes of development. This means they have potentialities that are often unknown (though generally positive) and also potential pitfalls in terms of their execution. It is important to recognize this context in planning for localisation.

Examples rusting tractor syndrome poor communication & organization for collaboration


In a couple of situations we have learned of parallel efforts for localization that were pursued without being aware of each other. This is a typical development pitfall encountered even in very low-tech projects as well. However in the case of ICT, we have the means in principle to assure more optimal communication.