Localisation and its merits

So, Sebol asks what has become of the OOo ms_MY project? And rightfully so, the lists are dead, the ms project is stagnated, and has been around for nearly a year. Amazing isn’t it? When there was some remote activity, and a press release was done, it brought on an onslaught from the Malay community on myoss. When I uploaded a website in “dismal” Malay, more onslaught. But when it comes to doing work, does anyone? MIMOS thought they’ll internalise it, since the external coordinator was unreliable – they even released beta CDs. After that, what happened?

So, the Malay language thing is in the media, eh? Here’s some fun reading at Microsoft’s site. The head at Dewan Bahasa has this to say: “The availability of Windows in Bahasa Melayu — the most widely used language in Malaysia and in many other parts of Southeast Asia — will accelerate IT literacy among the Malay-speaking community and help to bridge the digital divide.”

Firstly, I never knew BM was widely used in many other parts of SEAsia. It isn’t, he lies. Accelerate IT literacy amongst the Malay-speaking community and bridge the initial divide? Yeah, why not. What happens when they actually need to get 3rd party resources that are usually in the English language? What happens when you need to communicate with the rest of the world? What happens when you connect to the wonderful Internet? Get over it Malaysia, wake up, play it with English, or you’re not going to play at all.

Besides how’s a cut rate Windows going to help? Lower resolution graphics, fewer networking options (worse than XP Home?), and crappy multitasking (3 apps, only). So when on the Internet, let’s say I run Firefox, and Thunderbird, then I run OpenOffice.org, and that’s it – no chance of me editing my digital photos in Photoshop! So yeah, let Microsoft con Malaysia; they’ve already tried with the BSA at work.

Yes, localisation is important. But does it really help a small country like Malaysia, where competition with the international market is great?

Update: If its really Bahasa Melayu, which is widely used in Indonesia, rather than what DBP push out as the Malay national language, there’s some merit in this. Language isn’t the only barrier that Malaysians face, but its one that can be easily fixed if some pride is shed off. Was it not someone wise who once said, “pride goes before a fall”. Also, the work Sebol does is amazing – very consistent, full 100% respect for him.


  1. alphaque says:

    I never knew BM was widely used in many other parts of SEAsia. It isn’t, he lies.

    no, he doesn’t. you’re forgetting 250 million Indonesians who speak BahasaIndonesia. Lexically, Bahasa Indonesia is derived from Bahasa Melayu.

  2. randalsage says:

    Bahasa indonesia is bahasa indonesia. There are huge variationsin language use. Personally on paper it looks good that microsoft is actually caring about a country which is famed for piracy. But the reality is users won’t care about starter edition. We can get windows xp pro for USD1.20 from a pirate or USD 0.30 from a home user who has a decent internet connection.

    Being proficient on a BM os would also hamper the individual that picks it up based on that. How are they gonna use any software that isn’t built for BM?
    What about different work environments with the other version of windows? Seems like english is the way to go. And that’s what the IT industry has been ranting on for the past few months.

    I think education is the most important, because people don’t know what open source and linux are about. I bet if BSA does raids on consumers, bet most non-gamers would convert over to linux.

  3. Dinesh, wouldn’t it be safe to say that BM has been derived from Bahasa Indonesia? So while lexically it may be similar, shouldn’t the court be in Bahasa Indonesia, rather than the local Malay language?

    BM itself, from the usual bunch of translators, agree that its only widely used in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. I doubt the widely bit in Singapore (really, anyone who goes there knows not), and I can’t say much for Brunei.

    Bahasa Indonesia is widely used, and widely taught around the rest of the world. I can’t say the same about BM. But yes, lexically, its similar, but its a different beast in many other ways.

  4. Also, what’s with Gartner also calling it a miss? http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3394991?

    Impressive, for once they’re seemingly saying something that makes sense. Piracy, here it comes!