Free and African for Software Freedom Day

Published in ITWeb

Translate.org.za will launch open source software in three South African languages to mark Global Software Freedom Day on Saturday.

Translate.org.za, a South African software translation project, has spent two years developing this software with the sponsorship of the Shuttleworth Foundation, the Department of Communications, CSIR, Obsidian Systems, Hewlett-Packard South Africa and St James Software.

“We are about to launch the first African language word processor quality software in South African languages, for free,” says Dwayne Bailey, founder and director of the Zuza Software Foundation, of which Translate.org.za is an ongoing project.

“This is the first Africans-helping-Africans, no strings attached, free software word processor. It has always been my dream that one day fellow South Africans would be using computers with quality software in their mother tongues. So far we have translated software into Zulu, Sepedi and Afrikaans,” he says.

“Using OpenOffice.org in Zulu was phenomenal,” says Translate.org.za translator, Thobile Mhlongo. “Seeing my language used on a computer made me think of all the school children, grannies and other proud Zulu speakers who will use this software.”

Saturday sees the first annual Software Freedom Day celebrated worldwide. In SA, various organisations will stage events and ‘installfests’ around the country to encourage the widespread use of free and open source software.

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