L10N migration to transifex.net

Ricky Zhou ricky at fedoraproject.org
Mon Feb 21 06:10:55 UTC 2011

On 2011-02-21 03:25:23 PM, Ruediger Landmann wrote:
> As I see it, you answer your own question further down your post. We 
> lose control of the instance. Whether or not the Fedora project ever 
> exercises that control is a different matter.
> Some people might see this as a purely theoretical distinction, but it's 
> a distinction that exists at the very heart of Free software. With the 
> exception of packages that I'm involved in maintaining, I have very 
> rarely delved into the code or modified the code of the Free software 
> that I use every day. However, by choosing Free software, I retain the 
> ability to do these things if and when I choose to do so.
transifex.net runs on the same open source software that we run (albeit
a much newer version).  If we ever have the need to exercise control
over the instance that transifex.net won't allow us, then we are always
free to move back to running our own instance (the migration would work
exactly like the one that's currently ongoing).

> To me, this situation is analogous, and it's important to me that Fedora 
> retains this freedom. Freedom means having the power to do something, 
> not that you necessarily do that thing.
I don't think the situation is analogous to free vs. proprietary
software.  Again, Transifex is open source, and if we ever have the
need, we can download/modify the source and go back to running our own
version (although I don't really see this need arising, since they seem
to have been great about helping us satisfy our needs in terms of
features so far).  Until such a need arises, we can save a ton of
maintenance/sysadmin time by not running our own instance.

> More pragmatically, needing to move translation files between 
> transifex.net and our repos seems to me like an unfortunate hurdle to 
> translations in Fedora. This is probably not a substantial disadvantage 
> to relatively stable software packages where there is little change from 
> version to version, but would be felt more in documentation where string 
> changes are more frequent.
As we discussed in the other sub-thread, this change happens regardless
of whether we run 1.1 in Fedora or on transifex.net.  I consider this to
be a huge improvement for the following reasons:

 - Don't have to manage shared storage when scaling transifex to run on
   multiple servers.  In Fedora Infrastructure, this is one of the
   things we've been looking forward to the most with moving off of
   Transifex 0.x.
 - Don't have to worry about maintaining and securing private SSH keys
   with access to a bunch of upstream projects.  Right now, we have to
   enter passphrases every time we restart a server with Transifex (and
   whenever we forget, the site is just broken for translators), and we
   also have to worry about securing a bunch of SSH keys to things that
   we'd rather just not have access to.

 - I don't have to give Transifex or translators write access to my
   repo.  Sure, access can be restricted with commit hooks or a file
   whitelist in Transifex, but those are a pain to maintain.
 - I get to control exactly when POT file changes are pushed and when PO
   file updates are pulled.
 - Developers can use whatever VCS they want without needing to worry
   about Transifex support.  Back in the early days, Toshio had to spend
   time writing a Bazaar plugin in order to get Transifex support for
   his projects.  Other developers use Monotone, Darcs, or maybe they
   don't use a VCS at all.  The new model allows all of these people to
   use Transifex without issue.

 - Common strings between projects can be shared.
 - Better failure handling.  If the project's repo is down or
   unreachable for any reason, translations don't get denied - instead,
   they get saved, and the developer will still be able to pull and use
   them later (this kind of falls under sysadmin and developer too).

> I am really very sorry that Red Hat has not stepped into the gap earlier 
> to offer support for this part of the infrastructure and that the 
> situation had to reach this crisis point. Nevertheless, the offer is out 
> there now. If the L10N team accepts our help, we will of course need to 
> put a plan in place to ensure that we provide some ongoing support (as 
> we do with Bugzilla) -- at least until if and when somebody else in the 
> community develops an interest in maintaining the instance.
I appreciate your work to find resources to maintain a Transifex
instance, although the timing is pretty late, yes.  I'm still not clear
on exactly what freedoms we're losing out on, for the reasons I gave

Also note that even if we have some people dedicated to running
Transifex for Fedora, the cost of maintaining it doesn't go away
entirely.  We still have to dedicate server resources, get woken up by
alerts when it goes down, get the new sysadmins onto the team and
trained on how we do things, and so on.

> Thanks again for the vote of confidence; it means a lot to me. I'm not 
> deluded enough to imagine that this will be an easy task! :)
Sorry to say this, but it's not quite a vote of confidence yet :-)  I'm
still trying to get more of a understanding on the reasons that some
people don't want to move to transifex.net.

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