L10N migration to transifex.net

Ruediger Landmann r.landmann at redhat.com
Thu Feb 24 06:32:37 UTC 2011

[note: CCed to logistics list as suggested; see below]

On 02/22/2011 03:02 AM, Jared K. Smith wrote:
> On Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 10:33 PM, Ruediger Landmann
> <r.landmann at redhat.com>  wrote:
>> This decision has greatly saddened and disappointed me. With all respect
>> to Dmitris and his team, to me, it seems like Fedora is giving up a key
>> part of our infrastructure and our independence.
> Sorry for the slow response -- I wasn't keeping up with email for much
> of the weekend, and didn't see this thread until this morning.  I
> understand your point here regarding our independence, but I don't see
> any vendor lock-in here.  The software is the same open-source
> software we'd be running on our intrastructure -- it's just that
> Indifex has offered to take care of the hosting/upgrades/maintenance
> of it for us.  Because it's open source and we have the ability to
> host it ourselves at any time, it really comes down to a matter of
> trust.  Personally, I can say that I unequivocally trust Dimitris,
> because I've seen the work he's done in Fedora both as a contributor
> and a former member of the Fedora Board.

Thanks Jared; and sorry for my slow reply too. I don't think anything is 
gained by further haste at this point, and I've been taking some time to 
think through my responses.

First, can we please clear the air of any notion of vendor lock-in? That 
has never been a concern of mine, and I hope that I have not said 
anything to suggest that it was. I think we can agree that you can be 
dependent on someone or something even without being locked in. You 
otherwise understand what I'm saying about dependence, so really, the 
point of contention is "only" whether in this case, the dependence is 
good, bad, or indifferent! :)

Second, I'd like to put the question of trust aside as well. Dimitris 
has certainly established his credentials and bona fides within our 
community.  When you suggest that the move to Transifex.net comes down 
to "a matter of trust" you risk reframing the discussion from "do we 
think that moving Fedora's translation infrastructure to an external 
provider is a good idea or not?" to "do we trust Dimitris or not?" It's 
just not fair to personalize the discussion that way, and I would hate 
to think that anybody would equate "doesn't support the move to 
transifex.net" with "doesn't trust Dimitris".

>> Therefore, I have obtained permission from my manager to put time and
>> resources into packaging Transifex 1.1 for fedoraproject.org. I have
>> also had the time and skills of two Red Hat sysadmins allocated to get
>> Fedora's own instance of Transifex upgraded and migrated ASAP.
> That's fine, but you need to coordinate that with both the
> Infrastructure team and the rest of the L10N team.  Having spoken to
> the Infrastructure team about this several times over the past few
> days, I know their first concern is going to be the dedication of
> these resources.  In other words, they're not just looking for someone
> who can upgrade us to 1.0 (or 1.1-dev) now, but *guaranteed resources*
> to keep it upgraded and maintained and bugs fixed over the *long
> haul*.

Of course! :) I am working on getting something formalized in this 
direction. Are the terms of the Fedora Project's service-level agreement 
with Indifex a matter of public record? (and will performance reports be 
publicly available to the community?)

>> I believe that if the Fedora Localization Project is open to the idea,
>> we could have an up-to-date and fully functional local instance of
>> Transifex 1.1 available within a week.
> With all respect Rudi, it's not just about the Localization team... We
> had meetings last week between the L10N team, the Infrastructure team,
> the Docs team, FESCo, the Fedora Program Manager, and myself.  We
> weighed all the pros and cons of the move, and we decided as a group
> to move forward with the migration to transifex.net.  We migrated the
> translations to transifex.net last Friday.  We've got a deadline of
> having the transifex client packaged up and ready to go for package
> maintainers by this coming Friday.  Any delay (or switch to another
> platform) adds additional burden to our L10N team, especially when
> we're already past the string freeze and into their translation time.

Understood, and I agree that added delay and uncertainty at this point 
would pose a significant and unfair burden to translators. I'm sorry 
that other options were not made available earlier. Thank you very much 
for raising the issue with the Board (as you related in your follow-up 
email, not quoted here) and I concur that it makes more sense to revisit 
this after F15 is out the door. Your firm hand on the rudder is 
appreciated :)

I'm a little confused by the nature of the meetings you're talking about 
though. I was only at the docs meeting, and that didn't seem to include 
any weighing up of options. For that matter, the L10n meeting didn't 
either, based on the logs -- it reads to me more like a fait accompli.

On the subject of the L10n meeting: I'm in a difficult position. I'm 
proud to number some of the people who participated in that meeting 
amongst my friends, so I *really* don't want to single out specific 
people or comments in the log. Also, IRC doesn't capture the nuances of 
human communication very well and I can't discount the possibility that 
I'm badly misreading the tone of the meeting. So, all I can do is invite 
anyone who's interested to go and read the log at 

One specific thing in there that does confuse me though is the vote that 
occurs about 96 minutes into the meeting; I don't really understand what 
was going on there or how it fits together with the idea that the 
decision about where to host Fedora's translation infrastructure wasn't 
just up to the Fedora Localization Project. I'd appreciate clarification 
from anyone who was at the meeting.

>> I also want to take this opportunity to thank Dmitris for his extremely
>> generous offer to host this massive project on behalf of Fedora.
>> However, apart from the reasons I gave earlier, I also can't help but
>> feel that this direction would be grossly unfair on Dmitris and his
>> business. Indifex is, after all, a commercial venture, and server
>> resources and bandwidth aren't free of charge -- especially on the scale
>> contemplated for Fedora. Just before I came to work for Red Hat, I owned
>> a small IT business myself, and know that every penny counts! :)
> I don't think Dimitris would have made us the offer to host our
> translations if he would have thought that it would be unfair to
> Indifex.  I agree that Indifex is a commercial venture and that the
> work they're offering does cost them money, but if Dimitris and
> company are OK with that, how can I argue against it?  On the
> maintenance/upgrades side of things, that's work they already have to
> do for their other clients.  On the bandwidth side of things, I'm sure
> they'll yell if their bandwidth costs get too high, and then we'll
> make a determination on whether to compensate them for bandwidth, move
> to being self-hosted again, or find some other solution.

Great :) Like I said, it's a very generous offer by Dmitris and Indifex, 
and whether or not I personally agree with the move, I applaud the 
commitment that it shows.

So there's room in the Fedora budget to compensate Indifex if the need 

> May I also suggest that we move this discussion to the logistics
> mailing list, since the discussion needs to include more people than
> just the Docs or the Translation teams?

of course -- CCing them in.

In conclusion, I'm really conflicted here, because on the one hand I 
don't want to strain friendships or to be obstructionist, but on the 
other hand I feel compelled to speak up about a decision (and a process) 
that disturbs me.


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