The Serbian Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society is speeding up the translation of Open Source software into Serbian. The project should lead to an increasing use of this kind of software, the Ministry explains in a statement.
In a emailed statement, minister Aleksandra Smiljanic says the Ministry wants to accelerate the development of an information society in Serbia. "Our gross domestic product is low and many people cannot afford to pay the price of basic software products."
Financing the translation of Open Source products will also help fight software piracy, she says. "The people will now have a choice. By making the software affordable, we hope to build the culture of the developed world. New and advanced products should be paid well because software developers deserve it."
The so-called localisation of software is done by three faculties at the University of Belgrade, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Organisation Sciences and the School of Electrical Engineering in Nish, reports Micro PC World, a Serbian computer magazine. According to the magazine, a second major localisation project will be tendered early next year.
Translations have been completed for OpenOffice, a suite of Open Source office applications, the Open Source web browser Firefox and the Open Source e-mail client application Thunderbird. The IT magazine also reports that work is ongoing to complete the localisation of Ubuntu and Fedora, both GNU/Linux distributions.
All of these localisation projects depend in part on volunteers, some of which are now involved in the universities' translation efforts. The first volunteer efforts to translate OpenOffice date from 2002. The ministry hopes their support for the localisation will help to increase the capacity of these projects. "The ministry ensures that the material is available to all, and will help to expand and improve the localisation."
The ministry is funding the software translation with an initial 100.000 euro. According to Ljubisa Radivojevic, adviser at the ministry and responsible for the project, the subsequent maintenance during a three year project will cost some 2.500 euro per month.
According to the ministry, the Free Software Network of Serbia, "expressed its support for the initiative."
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