Lodahl's blog: Annual report from the Danish NLC community

22 January 2008

Annual report from the Danish NLC community

This is my first year as lead and therefore also my first annual status report. Trough out the past year I have tried to keep you all up to date on my blog: http://lodahl.blogspot.com. In periods I wrote blog posts every day. I'll try to continue this in the future, though in a lower frequency.

What happened in the passed year ?

First of all, my English is getting much better. I hope you can all agree with me on that.

I started as coordinator for the Danish localization project on March 1th., but in fact I have been the project leader from about January 1th. I had no idea of how tough it would be and no body could know how things should develop in Denmark and in the rest of the World.

I started out trying to get the project organized by handing out some of the most important daily tasks. I knew that I couldn't do it all by my self. We organized our selves with a webmaster, a QA-master and I also tried to get a new person to take up the documentation. This was what I used to do before.

Unfortunately it didn't work out the way I had hoped. Very few people from the Danish community was ready to take direct responsibilities. But at the same time we have seen a few new names on the mailing lists this year and I'm very happy about that. We are twenty people on the list of active volounteers.

The Danish community deliberately has no funds at all. That way we avoid discussions about how to spend the money. But on the other hand, it would be nice if we had a million.

One of our goals for 2007 was to use Bouncer for handling the downloads. We need that for two purposes:
1) activation of automatic update
2) download statistics. Unfortunately we didn't succeed on this issue because no one has been able to tell us how it works.

We are translating new versions (almost) on time.

One of the most important sub projects was the new Danish spell checker (we call it 'Stavekontrolden'). We didn't have control of the words in the old one and we didn't believe that we could develop the old list fast and firm as we would like to. So we established a brand new list and new affix definitions from scratch based on hunspell. After only twelve months, it was possible for us to announce the first release. We made a comparison of our new spell checker against the old list and it showed that we had reached a break-even on quality. Since then the quality has increased day by day. The resulting spell checker will be integrated in OpenOffice.org 2.4.

Another achievment is that we have managed to organize a monthly newsletter from the community. The list of recievers has increased from 600 to nearly 1.000 people over the year and I find that a success. We are continously trying to improve the content of the newsletter. The newsletter is in Danish, but you can see an example here http://doc.oooforum.dk/Nyhed/2008Januar.pdf

Another thing in year 2007 was the political situation in Denmark. The Danish Parliament was about to agree on implementing open standards in most public authorities but unfortunately the Parliament was accepting both ODF and EOOXML file formats. I and several other people from FOSS communities was fighting and it ended up with a compromise: Microsoft is accepted for now, but must prove their openness in the development process. The Danish Competition Authority has been by the Parliament to monitor the process. My major domestic contribution to the process in the Parliament, was when I was granted a meeting (in the parliament in a sub committee).

During the year, I have tried to get a good relationship with the press. This is one thing I'm still working on. I have good contact with a marketing bureau that helps us when we need to get in touch with the press. The press coverage is usualy positive but I find it very difficult to catch the journalists interest.

Some of the Danish participants made CDs with OpenOffice.org and gave them away to all Members of Parliament and all municipal IT-managers. The CDs to the MP's raised some debate in the media, because the the MP's was not allowed to install OpenOffice.org on their computers in the Parliament. We hope to solve this problem in the coming year. In 2008 we expect to produce CD for all public libraries in Denmark.

In the late summer we worked together with several other FOSS communities in the process in 'Danish Standards' to make sure that Denmark would disapprove EOOXML at ISO. Denmark voted No.

During the year I have tried to keep the international community up-to-date with information by writing on my blog. 173 posts in 2007. I will continue that work in the future, but not that many posts I think. I find blogging a very useful communication channel.

One of the Danish IT newsletters are making an annual questionaire among their readers. This year about 60% of the answering readers says that they have a positive impression of OpenOffice.org. Just a few years ago only 20% knew what OpenOffice.org was. Today OpenOffice.org is considered a serious alternative to Microsoft Office and we meet new references all the time. One of the most important new references on the list is the University of Southern Denmark. The battle for open document standards was on 4th. place of most important issues in IT in 2007.

What can we expect in 2008 ?
I expect that a few Danish authorities will use OpenOffice.org and that several municipals will use OpenOffice.org. Right now I'm working on a case where public schools are saving lots of money by avoiding expensive software. I expect that lots of schools will switch to OpenOffice.org in this year.

A wish for 2008 ?
I wish that one or two of the public authorities will contribute to the project. I think thats what we need the most in Denmark right now: Public acknowledgment.
It's my hope that 2008 will bring us a little closer to an explanation on hos Bouncer works and how we (the Danish community) can take advantage of it.

Best regards, and happy new year to you all

Leif Lodahl
Native-Language coordinator DA.OpenOffice.org
Mail: lodahl-at-openoffice.org
Blog: http://lodahl.blogspot.com/

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