FreeBSD Dutch Documentation Project

So. It had been a while before I had proper time to look into the Dutch translation efforts again.


Due to various reasons not discussed here, I was not able to see to a proper translation. Rene did a lot of work (thank you for that Rene!).

The PO system

First of all, i am going to discuss a bit about the PO system, which is a gettext way of doing translations. It chops texts into msgstr’s (message strings) and then translates those strings using msgid’s. Same lines are translated the same, this might be a good option, unless the context changed between the lines and then you might get ‘google translate’ kind of ways.

Back to the story…

After getting time again to see this through I noticed that we started using the “PO” system, using gettext. Our handbook (for example) is now translated into one huge book.xml file which is then cut into msgstr’s that can be translated to msgid’s. For this I use the poedit application (the PRO version) so that I have counters and translation suggestions from the online Translation Memory(TM) that we all develop. I also contribute the FreeBSD translations back to the TM so that everyone can profit from it.

I am now first synchronising the Glossary because that didn’t change much with the current online translation and working my way back to what had been translated already and translating the missing bits and pieces in between. Mike (co worker at Snow) also did a tremendous job in getting this into better shape the last year which had not yet been merged back to the online variants because it was not yet complete. I can use that information though to generate a manual handbook variant of that version and use that to even further use the current translation effort into the gettext/po system.

Biting the bullet

As one of the first translation teams to use this, I expect to hit some rocks on the road. For example, there are lines that do not need translation, mailing list names are the same in every language, perhaps the description changes but not the ‘realnames’. Same goes for my entity (&a.remko) which does not change, nor my PGPkey. And if those things change, they require changing over all translation efforts as well as the original english version. We are looking into a way to ‘ignore’ them for the po system but include them when building. So that pgpkeys and such are always up to date.

I also had been discussing this with Vaclav the developer of poedit, and he mentioned that it does not matter much, because when a line changes and you update the po, those lines will be invalidated and need ‘retranslation’ for the entire string. So that all gets us in interesting situations that we did not encounter before. I am biting the bullet myself after we have discussed this a few years ago and I hope that the entire project can benefit from that.

Alternative options, pre-translate, merge current translations automatically?

And yes, a valid question would be, cannot you merge the current translated information into the po system automatically. If every word was on the exact same spot and line, yes this might be an option. Sadly because of grammer and different wording (longer/shorter) this changes rapidly from line 1 already and is thus not easily done. If you have suggestions however, we are always willing to listen. Please join us on ‘’ so that we can discuss those things better :-).

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Kobo readers using the internet

So I have this situation, where I couldn’t get my kobo reader to connect to the internet and fetch updates and/or use kobo+ for example.

I started debugging with Ubiquiti ages ago to see where the problem lies. In the meantime I was unable to continue with this, but I had an interesting thought yesterday. I sniffed the traffic from the hardware (mac) address of the ereader and noticed that it tried to resolve: and fetch /ncsi.txt. The site is a microsoft network connection information page that informs microsoft systems whether or not an active internet connection is seen.

Somehow it seems that Kobo is also using that for it’s android based readers as well. Without it, the network connection just disconnects and does nothing. That is somewhat upsetting because the device is just perfectly able to connect to the network(s) and has relative free internet access. One thing is that I filter on DNS responses and exclude known malware/spam hosts and analytics sites like google. This reduces the amount of advertorials on the internet and bogus trackers. It seems that is also on that list and thus gets an NXDOMAIN when querying for it.

I do not entirely understand why an ereader would need this kind of information before being able to connect to the internet. The device should associate with a WiFi access point and get an address and the like. Whether or not that gives continued access to the internet is something that is a next step. So instead of giving up, it could just mark the WiFi symbol with an exclamation mark (!) to report that something might not work and/or just try to connect to the kobo internet environment. That would be more common use of the internet then depending on an internet file which might be blocked (such as in my case).

For now I changed my caching mikrotik’s to include as a static entry and point that to my webserver and service the file instead. That makes sure the Kobo can connect to the environment and gives me full access over that file instead of some bogus remote site that might do nasty things (without me knowing).

Ofcourse I asked (nice and polite) Kobo to change this interesting behaviour.

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Happy 2017!

After ‘relaunching’ my Blog I have been occupied with other activities. So I just took a little time to say “Happy 2017” to all of you. Perhaps there will be more entries this upcoming year.. 🙂

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Reorganised and back online

It took a gentle while to get the blog back up and running. I first considered cleaning out the original blog, but that would have taken a lot of time and effort. So instead I just vaporised the old blog (well, not really, but the interwebs can no longer access it), and decided to rebuild the website. Please feel welcome here, if I feel up for it, I might convert a few older blog entries from the old blog to this new one. Do not expect periodic updates, they will not happen probably.

Categories: Uncategorized