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Debian Linux

Help Liberate the Debian Administrator's Handbook 143

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the books-want-to-be-free-too dept.
First time accepted submitter buxy writes "Roland Mas and me [Raphael Hertzog] are the authors of a French Debian bestseller. We want to translate this book into English and publish it under a license compatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines. That would be the first free and up-to-date book about Debian that can be integrated into Debian. But we need your support to make this happen. Pledge some money [toward the translation effort] and get a copy of the book once it's done! As a special bonus, you can alternatively support the project and have about 12% of the donated money given back to the Debian project."
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Help Liberate the Debian Administrator's Handbook

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  • Security... (Score:5, Funny)

    by systematical (1394991) on Friday September 30, 2011 @07:25PM (#37573852) Homepage
    Will the French version tell me to build a great line of firewalls that are easily circumvented by going through a router in Belgium?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      And there *HAS* to be a good Vichy joke here someplace.

      And, by the way, NetCraft really does say that Debian is DEAD.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        NetCraft confirms it, that shitty FreeBSD copypasta is dead.

    • by EETech1 (1179269)

      Seems he has good enough English to write a Slashdot post!

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        Not really. It should be "Roland Mas and *I*...

        • by buxy (1856772)
          Fortunately, there will be proofreaders for the book... ;-)
          • by Dahamma (304068)

            True. Plus, it's a technical manual. Most of the readers have a surprisingly poor grasp of their native language, let alone a second. Eh, and probably the majority of readers of the English edition aren't native speakers anyway...

            • by H0p313ss (811249)

              Plus, it's a technical manual. Most of the readers have a surprisingly poor grasp of their native language, let alone a second.

              Actually, a very high percentage of the techies I know are voracious readers with extensive vocabularies. I would predict that the average computer geek is significantly better at languages than the average guy on the street.

              • by Kjella (173770)

                I would predict that the average computer geek is significantly better at languages than the average guy on the street.

                At least the written language, I mean most of us sit in offices... well, maybe cubicles... or basements.... using our heads, the average guy on the street also consist of people working all day at Wal-Mart and McDonalds. They can of course be very good at languages too, but statistically just being any kind of knowledge worker makes you more likely to know and understand languages better. And from knowing any programming language you're at least a little bit skilled in translating text into code, which I'm

              • by Dahamma (304068)

                You must not read a lot of resumes in Silicon Valley :)

                It's amazing how many I see with just plain incorrect English - misspellings, grammar errors, capitalization, etc. I understand writing skills won't be perfect if English is a second (or third) language (and that's not really a big deal as long as general communication skills are adequate). But a little proofreading by a friend, headhunter, whoever, would make a much better first impression; if they can't make the effort to ensure a resume isn't error

                • by H0p313ss (811249)

                  First rule of hiring, don't interview people with spelling errors in their resume. Second rule of hiring, don't hire the ones who get as far as interviews who cannot communicate.

                  I'm not talking about the losers who cannot get jobs, I'm talking about the ones who never seem to be out of one.

                  • by Dahamma (304068)

                    My other big resume pet peeve is people with more pages to their resume than years of job experience. No way in hell I am going to read through a 6 page single spaced resume for someone with 5 years of work experience.

                    I was annoyed when I had to give up and add a second page to mine, and now after about 18 years of experience I still refuse to add a third :)

                    • by H0p313ss (811249)

                      Yup... that three months you spent serving coffee or maintaining your Mom's web site should probably drop off the bottom. I think I can get 12 years on two pages.

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Friday September 30, 2011 @07:28PM (#37573872)

    I'm not really understanding why it's going to take 15,000 euro.

    It's a translation, not a new work. Why not piecemeal it out to like-minded French / English speakers, and then self publish or simply post a torrent of the file (free as in...FREE)?

    You know, "community effort"?

    By the way, 15,000 euro is (today) about 20,000 $.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 30, 2011 @07:33PM (#37573906)

      Maybe they'd prefer to have their book translated by a professional translator, so it is stylistically consistent, uses proper grammar and the content is correct. Without waiting years until a community effort reaches the same state, that is.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Of course, so all the software people, please donate your time for free. Language translator, here is your satchel of cash
        • by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Saturday October 01, 2011 @05:05AM (#37575782) Journal

          Do you have any idea how hard it can be for one translator to remain consistent throughout the translation?
          Do you have the slightest clue how difficult it would be to actually organize a group translation of such a book?
          It is a rather large book, it is highly technical and therefore sensitive to the slightest nuance, and since professional translators are very seldom also highly technically competent, the translation will require frequent consultation with the authors.
          All in all, donating money towards the translation is actually more efficient than donating an equivalent amount of your time. Because you are likely not a professional translator. Because you likely do not have the required mastery in both French and English. Because even if the work were divided up and group-translated, it would still have to be reviewed and corrected for grammar, style, and consistency. And trust me, it is often easier to simply trash the whole thing and redo it right, from scratch.

          Now, community translation projects can and do function. But they are ongoing projects, often with mistranslated and untranslated parts that keep for ages because nobody had touched or noticed them, and they are often fairly bad.
          If you’ve got a big language, such as English or German or Spanish or Chinese (i.e., a language with a large number of well-educated speakers), it’s not all that bad. But in the case of small languages, such as my native Croatian, what you get is crap. And I mean a metric fuckton of crap.
          I don’t intend to berate anyone’s work, really. But the problem is that we are a small population (a bit over 4 million), with a lousy percentage of highly educated people, of which few can afford to work for free because our economy is dead, buried, and digging deeper. I’m actually doing some corpus analyses for my thesis (that I’ve been writing, on and off, for over two years) that will help such projects immensely, but I have to get round to it. And when I finally do, I still have to beg my translator friends for a bit of their time, which is at a premium.

      • by cultiv8 (1660093)
        Seriously, 15k isn't that much.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by Hognoxious (631665)

        Maybe they'd prefer to have their book translated by a professional translator, so it is stylistically consistent, uses proper grammar and the content is correct.

        We wouldn't want it to be different from all the other open source documentation, would we?

      • by hduff (570443)

        But they are French, so they will insist on direct translation of all French idioms.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Yes, but that's another pair of sleeves.

      • by dr_dank (472072)

        so it is stylistically consistent, uses proper grammar and the content is correct

        In other words, Slashdot editors need not apply?

      • Maybe I'd prefer to have an operating system written by a professional programmer, etc?

        Without waiting years until a community effort reaches the same state, that is.

        You do realize that there are millions upon millions of qualified individuals available to assist with such an effort, right? And probably on the order of between tens and hundreds of thousands of professional translators out there too, right?

        This isn't kernel programming, where a very small number of people are qualified to contribute

        • You do realize that there are millions upon millions of qualified individuals available to assist with such an effort, right?

          And you do realize that this is the version 2 of the book, written for Squeeze, and that Raphael had the experience of the Lenny version (where he didn't find volunteers)?

        • by jimicus (737525)

          You do realize that there are millions upon millions of qualified individuals available to assist with such an effort, right? And probably on the order of between tens and hundreds of thousands of professional translators out there too, right?

          You'd be surprised.

          Okay, you need someone who is sufficiently fluent in French and English that they can put together a half-decent translation. Fair enough. I'd agree that there's no shortage of translators.

          Really, you need someone who's also sufficiently comfortable with Linux that they can be trusted to ensure that as few errors as possible slip in during the translation process. To put it into context, many publishers paying professionals have difficulty with this - you'd be amazed how many French progr

      • by TheLink (130905)

        Why don't they post it complete online after all this publicity? I'm sure one of those OCD bunch will translate it so it's stylistically consistent, uses proper grammar etc.

        Some of those manga/anime apparently have very well done fan translations.

        If their stuff isn't as good as the already existing equivalent stuff in English I don't see the point of spending time much less money on translating their book.

      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        Seeing as €15,000 is not far off a year's salary for some people- I wonder how many man hours it actually takes to translate a book between two European languages? I'd be surprised if it really did take anything like close to a year.

        It still seems like a hefty price tag to me.

        • Divide 15k by 2 persons, and divide again by 3 months, that makes it 2.5k EUR per month, which really, isn't much, for someone with the skills of Raphael, living in France. On the IT work market, I believe he would earn a way more. Sure, you can try comparing this to a salary let's say in Shanghai, where you're more than happy with 1k EUR (yes, it's that much now in China...), but that's not the point.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      because they won't make 15k euros from doing that, while claiming to 'liberate something' that could easily be implemented without 'liberating' anything?

    • Hey hey hey. I'm currently allowing three Indians to do my old job, and so I find myself open to new opportunities. I took French in high school, know a little bit of Debian and a whole lotta' administration, and will work for, say, 3750 euros.

      systematical, that was totally uncalled for. My display now drips Mt. Dew and mucous. I have no mod points to offer, so please accept my equally worthless kudos.
    • by rastilin (752802)
      Because they use translating as their main source of income, and want to do a proper job like they do any other project? That means that while they work on this they aren't earning money from any other source.

      It's not strange either, when we want something done in day to day life, we pay someone to do it. Especially if it's important to us and we want it done quickly; I've already donated 15 pounds.
      • It's not strange either, when we want something done in day to day life, we pay someone to do it. Especially if it's important to us and we want it done quickly; I've already donated 15 pounds.

        OK, but maybe that this wonderful and holy volume that has been available in French since 2004, is not "yet" available in English is an indication of lack of interest and desire among English speakers to have this work available to them?

        Where there is interest and even a *slim* profit potential, there will generally be translations of technical works such as this.

        BUT HEY! If you have the spare cash, there are many less worthy projects around...

        • is an indication of lack of interest

          No, it's an indication that the book is big, and the translation to be done being a huge work.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        That aspect of it is reasonable, the better question though is why it needs to be translated in the first place. Considering that the CLI is in English or is known to English speakers, it would be a lot cheaper to just rewrite those passages from a google translation and knowledge of the subject matter than it would be to have somebody actually translate it. The former being easily accomplished and the latter requiring somebody that actually understands how to properly translate the materials rather than ju

      • You've donated 15 pounds? Hey - maybe we can get some obese Americans to do the same! Just think of the energy savings if we could get half of our obese fuckers to donate 15 pounds to any worthy cause! We'd probably save a few million gallons of gasoline (petrol) this year!

      • by GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) on Friday September 30, 2011 @10:55PM (#37574696)
        FYI, Raphael isn't doing any other job than his work in Debian. His only resources are donations and this book. And he is the only person working on dpkg, which really, is a key piece in Debian. Donating to Raphael is a good investment, really! Thanks for your donation.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by stephanruby (542433)

      I'm not really understanding why it's going to take 15,000 euro.

      2-hour lunch breaks, 15 min smoke breaks, 5 week vacations, and 35 hours work week. It all adds up.

      Plus the original work was in German. I don't understand why they would first translate it in French, and then translate the French version into English. That part makes no sense to me.

      "It was even the most sold book on Amazon.fr for an entire morning." [emphasis mine]

      Plus it sounds like they hired a sleazy American marketing expert. Those guys are not cheap. That's probably already 10,000 euros down the drain from the get go on the Marketing guy alone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        2-hour lunch breaks, 15 min smoke breaks, 5 week vacations, and 35 hours work week. It all adds up.

        Raphael doesn't smoke, and he is working exclusively on Debian, living only out of donations. I don't know how much time he takes for lunch breaks tough...

        Plus the original work was in German.

        No, in French. Raphael is a French guy by the way, and I'm not even sure he understand German. From where did you see it was done in German first?

        Plus it sounds like they hired a sleazy American marketing expert.

        May I know who you are referring to here?

      • by buxy (1856772)

        2-hour lunch breaks, 15 min smoke breaks, 5 week vacations, and 35 hours work week. It all adds up.

        Plus the original work was in German. I don't understand why they would first translate it in French, and then translate the French version into English. That part makes no sense to me.

        I do not smoke and this is an original book in French. It's not a translation of a German book. I don't know where you found this misinformation.

        Plus it sounds like they hired a sleazy American marketing expert. Those guys are not cheap. That's probably already 10,000 euros down the drain from the get go on the Marketing guy alone.

        I did not hire anyone...

        • I do not smoke...

          Way to go for killing the joke...

          ...and this is an original book in French. It's not a translation of a German book. I don't know where you found this misinformation.

          I read it in one of one the comments here [amazon.fr]. Is that not the same book? Aren't you Raphaël Hertzog?

          I did not hire anyone...

          That's not what I was alluding to. If you want me to spell it out for you, then I shall.

          I think repeatedly calling your book a "bestseller" because it happened to be a "bestseller" on amazon.fr for a single morning (or perhaps even less time than that) is misleading. Please consider your (slashdot) audience before making claims like that. Many of us know how such temporary

    • by buxy (1856772)
      Concerning the amount, you need to be aware that the rewards have a price and the net value that will be left for us is much lower. Cf the FAQ: http://debian-handbook.info/faq/#q2.2 [debian-handbook.info] And about letting the community do the translation, it's something of a last resort because you really need a small set of translators to have a quality result (i.e. consistent). It's also covered here: http://debian-handbook.info/faq/#q3.1 [debian-handbook.info]
    • by Genda (560240)

      You silly git... because her wants to give it away after making 15,000 euros. What part of that isn't clear?

  • This has to be a new low.
    • Hey, wouldn't you want to have a dinner with the book authors?

    • by Viliam (1149109)
      At least the article does not mention BitCoins.

      Tomorrow news: "BitCoin donations to free software documentation translations could make 2011 the Year of Linux!"

  • taaaaacoooo! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aighearach (97333)

    How could you leave us to these monster?!?!

    • It's funny. When Taco was here, I would read at least 3 posts a day directed to Taco about how much he sucked for what he was posting. Now i read at least that many more each day wishing he'd come back. Fickle bunch aren't we? Or is this a case of not loving what you've got until it's gone? Smile.
      • "We are a puny and fickle folk. Avarice, hesitation, and following are our diseases."

        - Ralph Waldo Emerson

      • by Aighearach (97333)

        No we loved him all along, even with his numerous flaws.

        Back in the slashdot radio days it was said that the purpose of slashdot was to keep these people away from servers and real work, and turn them into jesters instead. They've always been loved, just as special little brothers are loved.

  • Not a bad idea. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Friday September 30, 2011 @07:42PM (#37573960) Homepage Journal
    Im waiting for someone to come up with 'cover expenses' idea. ie, like, lets say you are someone who is undertaking a free project or giving your music away for free. (like this guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL9-esIM2CY [youtube.com] ).

    you come up with a website, and you post your monthly expenses as they come up. and people donate. people know what they are donating to, and people actually see that they are covering your ass. and your monthly expenses and living gets covered. and you can even come up with small or big projects you want to undertake and people will fund it if they want, as much as they want.

    transparent, trustworthy, interactive, meaningful.
    • by philpalm (952191)
      Manga/Amine translators sort of work for Free, but I suppose Debian translation work is sort of a dull and unexciting job, except for the small debates on some tricky translations.....
    • Are you here writing that the current maintainer of dpkg doesn't deserve a bit of money for his (huge) work?
      • Does the maintainer of dpkg deserve support? Yes.
        But this isn't a request to support him, it's about drumming up some cash to translate a book he wrote seven years ago.
        • by buxy (1856772)

          It's not like I have not been trying to get support as dpkg maintainer (head over to raphaelhertzog.com)... but the truth is that donations are not allowing me to work on dpkg, but the royalties of the French book did!

          BTW the book has been updated and extended for each Debian release since 2004, so it's still very relevant.

      • To GP's defense, dpkg wasn't mentioned in the summary. And honestly, people rather donate for end-user applications. I'd expect FSF to finance basic infrastructure projects.

    • by Yaur (1069446)
      http://www.kickstarter.com/ [kickstarter.com] is the website you are looking for.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      you come up with a website, and you post your monthly expenses as they come up. and people donate.

      Having seen a similar process happening at a political party, I strongly advise against it. Certain people will demand to know every last dollar you spend and everybody will be a critic of your expenses. As long as you're asking for money some people see it as justification to grope deeply into your personal life. And they won't simply shut up if you say no, they'll keep pushing. Also there's probably someone living off Ramen noodles in their dorm room who say they could live for half that. And you'll only

  • I have some beach front property in Arizona I could use help liberating....
  • by odd42 (1370641)
    Couldn't we use translation software and then some proofreaders/editors to make the corrections for 5% of the stated cost?
    • Couldn't we use translation software and then some proofreaders/editors to make the corrections for 5% of the stated cost?

      It couldn't be any worse than all the crap that come out of the ass of Packt Publishing day and night.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Yes, and that's a point I made earlier.

      This isn't literature or an obscure topic which no English speaker has knowledge of. This is systems adminstration of an OS that's primarily targeted at English speakers. Meaning that apart from the GUI and screenshots, most of the material is naturally English to begin with. Th explanations are the only things that would need to be translated.

      And the explanations themselves would be fine handled with a transliteration that's subsequently checked for clarity, spelling,

      • And the explanations themselves would be fine handled with a transliteration that's subsequently checked for clarity, spelling, accuracy and grammar by a native speaker.

        That word does not mean what you appear think it does.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Not really, it depends how strict you want to be. If you're going strictly, then yes, you are correct. However, in the more broad sense it does mean translating word by word without particular knowledge or awareness of the impact that words have on each other via context.
          http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/transliterate [wiktionary.org]
          (transitive) To represent letters or words in the characters of another alphabet, script, or in semantic equivalent words of another language.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    that made the front page? That is just sad.

    How is it that the other distros have their docs in multiple languages due to volunteer efforts?

    • by julian67 (1022593)

      Debian has documentation in numerous languages. See http://www.debian.org/international/ [debian.org]

      The book referenced in this article is written by Debian developers but is not part of Debian.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is all Raphael Hertzog. He's been doing this "give me money and I'll do X" for a little while now.

      • what is the problem with being paid ?

        Free software does not means that it is free to produce, a payment upfront for feature or a documentation that you need, it not a bad use of money even if that benefit everyone. I won't give as I read french and I do not use Debian but should I have to administer or program for a Debian system, I would not hesitate to fill a procurement (if is it under 10000$ as over this the paperwork gets hellish) form to contract that particular feature.

        Most of the Kernel guys are pai

  • [and 33% to the slashdot editor who posts this 'story' ]
    This line was accidentally erased when the story was posted.

    • Are you, too, thinking that Raphael doesn't need money to survive? Did you realize that he decided to exclusively work on Debian, and maintaining dpkg, and that he isn't getting much from donation, plus this book represents only a very small bit of his annual incomes? Oh, but maybe you are volunteering for taking over the development of dpkg, doing it full time, and without accepting any source of income? How generous you are!!!
      • by kayumi (763841)

        I have no problem with him trying to make ends meet but with this being a "major" story on slashdot.

        Oh, but maybe you are volunteering for taking over the development of dpkg, doing it full time, and without accepting any source of income?

        No I will not (I would prefer to work on FreeBSD) but neither should he if he cannot make ends meet. If he chooses do work on dpkg fine; if he can get support for doing it even better, but don't start spamming 'news' sites with this stuff. Post it in the relevant news groups/mailing list etc.

        Are you, too, thinking that Raphael doesn't need money to survive? ... How generous you are!!!

        This self-righteousness is really getting nauseating. There are millions of worthwhile projects to be done. Volunteer i

  • by anon mouse-cow-aard (443646) on Friday September 30, 2011 @10:26PM (#37574592) Journal
    I am a native English speaker who speaks and writes fluent French. I have no interest in helping with the translation of someone else's copywritten work. If it was available under a free documentation license, I would gladly contribute and commit to translating two chapters. It just looks like a gimmicky cash grab.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You wouldn't qualify as a translator anyway — I think they're rather looking for someone that can spell copyrighted [reference.com] properly.
    • by buxy (1856772)

      Unfortunately we don't own the rights on the French version, so we can't liberate it and then do the translation. But we do have all the rights on the translated version though. So we're going to liberate that one if we meet our fundraising goals.

      • So then it isn't you, but the original copyright holder who is holding people hostage. Debian documentation is usually available in multiple languages, what happens when well meaning people take the english work and re-translate it to French, Spanish, or whatever, is it a copyright violation? http://qref.sourceforge.net/Debian/reference/index.en.html [sourceforge.net] You leave a hole in the matrix for the French version? You produce a second one not covered by the original because it is based on the translation? You
    • by theolein (316044)

      Fluent French speaker and reader here as well. Although I understand the authors' need to earn some money, I think I'll just put in an offer to translate a chapter here myself.

  • Apprenez à lire des Français
  • Seriously, this sounds like a kick-starter project.
    • by buxy (1856772)
      And it's exactly this. Ulule.com is a kickstarter like service. Instead of using Amazon Payments they use Paypal but the base concept is really the same.
  • Help us translate this book so we can make more money on international markets, please !!

    • by buxy (1856772)
      Did you miss the part of the plan where we want to publish it under a free license? That said you're right. I truly hope the sales of paper copies will support my Debian work (dpkg maintenance among other things) once the book is available world-wide.
  • Hello,

    I'm a bilingual Franco-Australian, computer science professor and researcher at a French institution. I have already written, translated and published several technical books in both French and English. I can basically translate almost as fast as I can type in either direction, and faster still with dictation software.

    I'm willing to help by translating a couple of chapters. I'm sure there are dozens like me with similar or better skills. Your book could probably be all done in two weeks tops. You only

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