Non-English languages & Open Source: politicians are mistaken

I red an interesting article about what the contestants to the French presidency think about Open Source (OS). Francois Bayrou’s thoughts were very interesting, and it seemed to me that he was right about OS. But i fell upon a sentence that shocked me.

Basically, he says that French OS softwares will contribute to spread the French language. I don’t think so. Let me explain: OS is all about people all over the world contributing to create a software. If you limit your community to French people, you mislead the spirit of open source: contributing to the world’s goodness. Help the world go forward (not necessarily without any money being involved but that’s another problem). But at least, it prevents others from having to reinvent the wheel. In the open source spirit I don’t think it is possible to limit oneself to one country, one language. Whether it be for the source code or for the user interface. If your project is successful, its interface will undoubtedly be translated into many languages. Besides, considering the code, would you imagine coding and commenting a {insert here your favourite language, mine is Java} program in a non English language ? What would it be like to have all those “for”, “while”, “print()”, “display()” mixed with French words ?

So in my opinion, seeing OS as a way to reinforce one’s language is a mistake. You will HAVE to use ENGLISH. So I believe that if politicians think about OS as a way to help their country as opposed to other countries, they are wrong. It’s a way to reinforce MANKIND.

More generally, it may be too soon to predict this but let me say: sooner than you think, nobody will think any more of “how can I improve the wellness of my country in regard to my neighbors ? How can I help spread the {insert your language here} language ?”. The unavoidable evolution of the world will make people think: how can I help my country the world ? How can I contribute to something that will help people, whatever country they are from, thus leading them to have time to help their neighbors too, thus, in the end, helping ME !


Yeah I know, I’m a bit too idealistic (that’s what a friend told me recently when I said: “a 4WD ? Are you crazy ?! It pollutes a maximum and prevents people behind you from seeing the road… If everybody acts like this it’s not sustainable…”) ! But that’s the way I think things are leaning toward. And even French candidates to the presidency are not aware of it !


French langage & foreign words

As you can see here some people have nothing better to do but to meet and decide wich word should be used in the French langage… WE are the people, and thanks to the internet, the culture spreads itself. OUR culture. Expressed with OUR words.
When anything new is invented, the words associated with this concept or this idea are usually invented at the same time. Or at least not much later. WE, the people, like being able to express simply our idea. For the word “podcasting”, the fact is that this word seems “english”. So some people meeting in the so called “COMMISSION GÉNÉRALE DE TERMINOLOGIE ET DE NÉOLOGIE“, have decided to find a french equivalent. But the fact is that “podcasting” is not english. Neither is it french or anything else… It is international !!!
Thanks to the internet, its use has spread at the speed of light. So why bother find an equivalent in the french langage now ? LANGAGES ARE MADE BY THE PEOPLE !!! As long as we understand each other, what’s the problem ? And I don’t think that many things as beautiful as a worldwide used word. Everybody, in every contry in the world will understand the use of this word ! Isn’t it wonderful ? And in maybe 50, 100 or 500 years, everybody on earth will be able to communicate with anyone else, in whatever country, thanks to the “global culture”. That’s how I see the world.
Warning: I said communicate, I didn’t say “understand”. I think that it’s hard enough to understand someone else. Even when speaking the same langage. So let’s break the langage wall !
By the way, dear Commission…. I think you’re outdated, futile and useless when you care about inventing words that already exist.

Are those people the same that invented a new french word “cédérom” instead of the original CDROM ?! I don’t know & prefer not to know. Such an exemple has always made me laugh. Forced laugh. In french, it doesn’t mean anything !!! Those are abbreviations !!! And it uses the phonetic that everybody already knows, certainly hoping that, time helping, people will keep on saying the word but will write it more & more as “cédérom”. Pathetic…