Swathanthra Malayalam Computing
Swathanthra Malayalam Computing (SMC) is a free software collective engaged in development, localization, standardization and popularization of various Free and Open Source Softwares in Malayalam language. "എന്റെ കമ്പ്യൂട്ടറിനു് എന്റെ ഭാഷ" is the slogan of the organization, which translates to "My language for/on My Computer".
SMC has been active since October 2002 and has been working to provide Malayalam language tools that work on all layers of computing including and not limited to rendering fixes, fonts, input mechanisms, translations (localization), text-to-speech engines, dictionaries, spell checkers and other indic script based language computing specific tools across operating systems. We are the upstream for Malayalam fonts and tools for popular GNU/Linux based operating systems such as Fedora and Debian. We also maintain localizations for popular Free Software Desktops (GNOME/KDE), popular applications such as Firefox and Libre Office.
SMC is perhaps the largest language technology developer community in India and collaborates very closely with government and industry, and serves as an advisory to govermental/semi-govermental organizations that determine the future of Malayalam language on computing devices. We are not just developers though, we also have linguists, journalists, Wikipedians, writers and all sorts of language users among us.
SMC also works on developing accessibility support for indic languages and maintains Dhvani TTS which supports 11 languages . Over the years, SMC has evolved to accommodate developers focused on Indic script based languages and now provides a generic web based Indic language computation framework called SILPA.(http://silpa.org.in).
SMC is registered as a Literary, Scientific Charitable Society in Thrissur, India with Register No. R80/2010.
Organization home page url
Main organization license (Note: this question has a popup selection for answers
Veteran/New (Note: this question has a popup selection for answers)
<< We need to fill a name here. Anivar/Santhosh/Praveen/Rajeesh >>
If you chose "veteran" in the dropdown above, please summarize your involvement and the successes and challenges of your participation. Please also list your pass/fail rate for each year.
SMC participated in 2007 and had 5 students in total, and 4 out of 5 projects were succesful. We successfully completed following projects for Malayalam 1) Indic script support in tux type project . 2) CMU Sphinx based speech recognition prototype 3) The first ornamental Unicode font in Malayalam 4) 2 Input methods
- Details - SoC/2007
If you chose "new" in the dropdown above, have you applied in the past? If so, for what year(s)
Why is your organization applying to participate in Google Summer of Code 2013? What do you hope to gain by participating?
After achieving our initial aim of having Indic support enabled on Dekstops, we are expanding our research and development to new avenues like Indic on Web projects (SILPA Project http://silpa.org.in, PyPDFlib) , Accessibility solutions, Rendering testing frameworks, Supporting Malayalam , Indic languages in Mobile space (in Android and Firefox OS), Accessibility support and Open data sets for malayalam (Bibliography Data, Dictionaries, spell Checkers etc)
GSOC is a way to attract student programmers who often provide brilliant insights - all the major SMC tools were started off when the developers were students. We hope to see more people working on this project and hope to attract talent that can help us expand our work on SILPA, our Indic language framework and other projects.
What is the URL for your Ideas page?
What is the main development mailing list for your organization?
What is the main IRC channel for your organization?
- smc-project on Freenode (irc://irc.freenode.net/#smc-project)
Does your organization have an application template you would like to see students use? If so, please provide it now.
- Yes . see SoC/2013/application-template
What criteria did you use to select your mentors for this year's program? Please be as specific as possible.
Our mentors are chosen on the basis of their work and contribution in SMC and language computing stack - we have been existing for over ten years now, and we have people who have worked tirelessly to provide the tools that we use in our daily lives. They satisfy the following criteria
- A strong technical ability
- Proven commitment
- Walk the walk - have demonstrated ability to hack.
- Advanced/Expert user of Indic scripts
We do not restrict to the members of our community alone - if anyone who satisfies the above criteria volunteers to be a mentor, they are welcome, provided the community approves.
What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?
We try to pick people that the members of our developer community can vouch for - but this is not a limiting restriction. For a student to be picked she only has to demonstrate that she is able to code, accept criticism and to just stick around and learn. We examine their ability to code/work and provide not just a mentor, but the whole commmunity to interact with, so that we can help them with any problem that may hamper their GSOC work.
We will require each student to start a page on our wiki about their work and have weekly updations. We will also require that the mentors follow these updates and that they interact with each other at least once in a week, via email/irc/video or whatever mechanism is convinient for them. However, we will also try to get the students to stay in touch with the entire community through the mailing list. We will also require them to push their work to a publicly viewable repository so that the community as a whole can review the work.
If, despite these things, a student disappears, or does not work up to her potential, the mentor and the SMC organization admins will try to sit down with the student in an IRC conversation or via some other medium to try to see what is holding him or her back and how she can be brought back on track. If necessary, we may need to adjust the goals as originally stated in the student's application, because it is better for a student to do a reduced amount of work than to do nothing at all. If nothing works, we may be forced to fail the student in her midterm or final evaluation, but this will be a last resort, because it will be to everyone's benefit if the student can be brought back on track. If the student stops being responsive, we will require him to report daily on what work she did.
If that doesn't help, then before failing him, we will raise the issue among all the mentors. If there are any doubts, we will also use the main GSoC list for mentors. This is so that we can make sure that the student was not treated/failed unfairly.
What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?
A mentor is chosen for her abilities and her willingness to deal with a student - the community as a whole is always behind a mentor and we will assign willing backup mentors (we have no dearth of them). We will choose a backup mentor, just in case.
Furthermore, we encourage students to interact with the whole community, and ask the whole community for help (i.e., on the IRC channel or on the mailing list) if they have a problem, rather than asking just one person. This will help them to become better members of the community and will also make it easier for the whole community to monitor their progress. Hopefully, in the unlikely case that a mentor disappears or even if she has to become less available for a little while, it will not be a huge issue for this reason.
What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before and during the program?
We require all applicants to demonstrate their work, either via a patch to the project that gets reviewed and pushed in, or via a publicly availbale code repository. We prefer that this is a fix/addition to SILPA or one of our other projects, but this is not a requirement.
In general, we will try to teach the students that it is better to do things publicly. For example, we will encourage them to ask questions on our mailing list or IRC channel rather than over a private email or private IRC chat. Even if the mentor is the only person who responds to the question, the whole community will be involved. This will teach the student good habits about interaction in open source. In the past, we have found that it is those students who have these good habits who tend to stick around.
What will you do to encourage that your accepted students stick with the project after Google Summer of Code concludes?
Since the community is generally welcoming to everyone and students in particular by the time the sudents are finished wih the work, they have built a strong relationship with the community. In the past, whoever has contributed code/work to SMC's efforts have remained in touch and has in fact become key members themselves. Some of our 2007 students who built Indic support for tuxtype project became mentors of tuxtype in 2008 GSoC. GSOC is a process not just to get something done - for us it is something that will expand and sustain our efforts. To this end we generally involve as much as possible with the student's work and this has usually resulted in strong friendships being formed. In spite of being inactive on the mailing list, there are several members who work to facilitate's SMCs work offline - this has been found to be the general nature of people who have worked with us in the past and is not limited to GSOC students.
Are you a new organization who has a Googler or other organization to vouch for you? If so, please list their name(s) here.
Are you an established or larger organization who would like to vouch for a new organization applying this year? If so, please list their name(s) here.