Hi Paul, and thank you for the feedback.

It sounds like we are talking about two separate, but related, issues here. 
Web content - in this case on Wikipedia, which is unusual in that it lets 
anyone edit it online - and software for composing and editing documents.

Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia on the web, with versions in many 
languages. Anyone with access to a computer and the internet can read and 
edit it online without special software - just a browser (MS Internet 
Explorer, Mozilla, Firefox, with commands in English, Luganda, Swahili, 
etc. -  these language versions exist but of course do not change how you 
see the webpages).

Wikipedia is accessible via http://www.wikipedia.org/ and has versions in 
many languages, though some are a lot more developed than others. In 
languages of Uganda there is currently one begun in Luganda at 
http://lg.wikipedia.org/ , for instance. It is possible to create new 
Wikipedias.

The matter of software either with commands translated into African 
languages ("localized software") or spellcheckers for African languages or 
both, is another issue. Such software exists for Swahili for example. It is 
also possible to have a language setting for spellchecking etc. in various 
languages without the whole software being localized. But in either case 
this points to the need for digitized dictionaries/word lists - necessary 
for spellcheckers of course.

(Where languages use special characters or diacritics, software localization 
also concerns the issue of keyboard layouts to make it easy to use the full 
alphabet for composing and editing documents.)

This software "localization" process is underway locally in many countries 
for "free and open source software" (FOSS) and for some major languages by 
Microsoft. I believe that Lunghabo James Wire and ICT Translations Uganda - 
the same people who released the Mozilla Web browser in Luganda, called 
"Kayungirizi" two years ago - are planning more localizations.

I'll have an announcement soon about a new list for discussing localization 
(with focus on software / interfaces). In the meantime, it is possible to 
contribute to African language editions of Wikipedia without special 
software.

Thanks for your question and greetings to folks over there.

Don Osborn
Bisharat.net
PanAfrican Localisation project



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Paul Ssesanga" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "The Digital Divide Network discussion group" 
<[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Friday, August 11, 2006 7:41 AM
Subject: Re: [DDN] "AfrophoneWikis" - developing African language Wikipedias


Hello Don,
  First of all I want to thank u for the issue at stake.The question 
therefore arises,Will people be able to get these language editors from the 
internet Or The manufacturers of software programs especially word 
processors should be able to get and intergrate them in there programs so 
that Spell Checkers can also be updated with these local languages.
  Thanks
  Paul Ssesnaga
  C/o MENGO SENIOR SCHOOL
  DEPARTEMENT OF COMPUTER STUDIES
  P.O.BOX 1901
  KAMPALA UGANDA

Don Osborn <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
  [Apologies for crosspostings]

One outcome of the just concluded "Wikimania" conference in Cambridge, Mass. 
(US) http://wikimania2006.wikimedia.org/ was discussion among several people 
(there and online) about how to facilitate development of Wikipedias in 
African languages.

This discussion resulted in the creation of a new list for discussion and 
coordination among all interested in whatever indigenous language(s) of the 
continent, and in making Wikipedia (and educational applications of ICT 
generally) more relevant and useful to Africa and all Africans. Dubbed 
"AfrophoneWikis" the list has its homepage at 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/afrophonewikis/ . There are several links to 
relevant Wikimania and Wikipedia pages on the site.

Don Osborn
Bisharat.net
PanAfrican Localisation (PAL) project
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