Despite their prominent position in the world as leaders of technology, we hear from oriental countries quite rarely in the free software world. To find out what happens to KDE in the East, we asked some questions to Daisuke Kameda (亀田 大輔) of the KDE Japan Users Group.
Daisuke Kameda (亀田 大輔)
How did the Japanese KDE Users Group start?
It had its beginning when Junji Takagi made a patch for operating multibyte characters such as Japanese, when Qt's version 1.x was released. Qt 1.x couldn't operate mulitibyte characters, so we couldn't use Japanese in KDE 1.x previously.
After the patch was made, The Japan KDE Users' Group was launched for aggregating the information about KDE/Qt in Japan.
What does the Japanese KDE Users Group do?
We do some activities such as message translation to Japanese, making patch for multilingualisation, exchanging information about KDE/Qt.
But, the necessity of having multilingualisation patches is less now.
How many people are part of the group?
There are 1000 mailing list subscribers. About 15 member is active staff.
Why do we rarely hear from Japan in the free software world?
Probably, there are some reason.
First of all, free software is used frequently, but few people participate in development of free software in Japan. For example, many company use free software, but few companies contribute free software.
Language difference is also big reason. Since Japanese population and community are large, if the developer use only Japanese and stay in Japan, he can be perfectly satisfied.
Does our 4 version number cause superstitious problems in Japan?
It is not necessary to care. Many Japanese software was also released version 4.
Are there any KDE developers in Japan and how can we get more?
Unfortunately, there are few active KDE developers.
We are also looking for the developers who are interested in KDE. Possibly, we can use Google's Summer of Code for getting more.
How active is the translation community for KDE in Japan?
The translation community is very active now :) Message translation is almost 100% complete. But, we need more translators to translate documentation.
And, increasing translators is always welcomed.