Friday, January 23, 2009


All the languages that have a Wikipedia, exist on the Internet. You would expect that all the components that are needed to support such a language properly on the Internet are in place. Proper support means that the characters are defined in Unicode and exists in fonts, proper support means that we know how to sort the words in the right way for that language and proper support begins with the knowledge that the language exists. Sadly proper support is not available for all the Wikipedia languages.

I will do (almost) anything to improve this. To support a language properly many separate issues need to be addressed and many of these issues are dealt with separate organisations. The Wikimedia Foundation needs a holistic solution for its languages; the recognition, the characters in a font, the support by a browser and finally MediaWiki to deal with it are all needed to make this work right.

NLnet is a Dutch foundation that financially supports organizations and people that contribute to an open information society. I had approach them to learn if they were interested in supporting a project to help the Wikipedia language to establish themselves fully on the Internet. As they are more inclined to the technical aspects of the Internet, they are sympathetic to the idea but this is not really their thing.

I was really surprised to receive a phone call from Michiel Leenaars today. He told me that the very subject of supporting languages on the Internet was discussed at a conference he attended in Brussels. He spoke about my proposal with a big foundation and they may be interested in considering helping us establish our languages properly..

I am thrilled.
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