13 August 2011 Last updated on 16 January 2012

How come some people lack basic respect and call themselves contributors? *sigh*

Yesterday, August 12th, 2011, it was made known to me that there apparently were two translation projects at Transifex.org registered under the Akeeba name. The thing is, the person who started those projects did not ask me first and he shamelessly copied text from this site (note: the text on this site is copyrighted as with all written works) and made the projects appear "official looking". In fact, they were so officially looking that some users got confused, asked me and that's how I found out of their existence.

At that point, I implied on Twitter that such "rogue" projects should be removed. Then, I engaged in a dispute with a fellow developer (which had nothing to do with the translation projects) regarding the applicability of copyright in this case. Well, in fact, yes, it does apply. The code is copyighted but I have waived most of my rights by putting it under the GPL. The translation files too. But the project and the brand name are not under the GPL, just like the Joomla! brand is not under the GPL (therefore we have to place the disclaimer text on the bottom of each page). Very difficult to explain all of that on Twitter, so I decided to do the proper thing and instead contact the user owning the translation projects on Transifex (signed as "derek"). The following is the exact text I sent him:

Hello Derek, 

With great surprise I was let known of the projects you have created on Transifex under the Akeeba name. I am writing to you because the way you have set up the projects makes them look "official", with a series of unfortunate results.

For starters, translations in those projects are incomplete, as they do not contain the total of all required INI files to assemble a complete translation of each piece of software. They should include component back-end and front-end, files in the back-end language directory, module translations, plugin translations and translations of the Live Update files. Currently, I understand that only the component language files are being translated.

Secondly, the translators here are not notified by yours truly regarding the upcoming release schedule and can not, of course, remain up-to-date with the changes in the language files. More specifically, due to the lack of ahead knowledge, they are incapable of producing translations in time for the next scheduled release. This communication is a mandatory requirement as I am using git-svn for development and only infrequently push out updates to the SVN. Moreover, translators are not notified of the new functionality, or its purpose, therefore making it virtually impossible to provide accurate tranlations.

Thirdly, the translations produced herein are not and can not be tracked by yours truly, ergo they can not be included in the official Akeeba Backup releases until someone submits them to me. This provides a disservice to international users as they are deprived of localised installation and out-of-the-box localisation of the software. These two goals are primary in my efforts to internationalise the software and provide a good service to the international community of Joomla! users.

Fourthly, there is the potential of a translation clash. For example, I am also producing the Greek translation of the project's files. However, I only do that just before releasing a new version, since I am the only Greek translator and maintainer of the package, therefore no prior communication is required for me to include an up-to-date translation in the software package. What would happen if a fellow Greek, seeing two dozens of untranslated strings, decided one day to provide a Greek translation here? He might choose different terms than mine, leading to an ambiguity that the average user can not comprehend. It is worse when a user might come back to me and refer to some translation string that is not what I provide and diverges from the meaning I would like the language string to have.

Fifthly, existing translators may feel "left out" or otherwise insulted by their non-inclusion to this "new" translation effort that "I" apparently started. This jeopardises not only my relationship to those translators, but also the provision of up-to-date language files with the software. In short, it jeopardises the whole endeavour of providing out-of-the-box localised software to the international community of users.

Lastly, I would like to point out the lack of adequate feedback between the translators and the developer. I have often been told by translators about spelling issues in the source English files, as well as ambiguities, which I promptly fixed. Likewise, whenever I receive feedback for a specific translation I forward it to the translator so that he can take care of the issue which apparently arose. If I am isolated from the translator this two-way communication is lost and the chance of proper collaboration collapses, with easily imaginable ill consequences.

I would therefore appreciate it if you could revise the description of the project to not use "we" and clearly state the following:

This translation project is not affiliated with or endorsed by AkeebaBackup.com. The Akeeba brand name is used in good faith, according to the spirit of collaboration instilled by the GPL. Translations provided herein will not be included to the mainstream Akeeba Backup releases unless you submit them to its lead developer. For more information about the official translation workflow of AkeebaBackup.com products please consult https://akeeba.assembla.com/spaces/akeebabackup/wiki/How_to_translate_Akeeba_Backup

Thank you very much for your time! I look forward to hearing from you. My email is [REDACTED]

Best regards,

Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos

Lead Developer, AkeebaBackup.com

Today, I got the following series of replies through Twitter (I obscured some vulgar words I can not reprint here with stars - the original shined in its full vulgarity):

[LINK] ilivanov: @nikosdion @HilsCheyne This very stupid way of thinking, am I touching by anyway your stupid programs ?
[LINK] ilivanov: @nikosdion @HilsCheyne You should be happy noob, more languages, more popularity
[LINK] ilivanov: @nikosdion And u don't understand it right, this is a f**ked language noob! I will release my languages for akeeba paid, happy now ?
[LINK] ilivanov: @nikosdion Ok scum, it will be removed right now!

This kind of reply simply amplifies my belief that I was right to call that translation project "rogue" and have a first instictive reaction of asking it to be removed. I don't want this kind of vulgar beasts anywhere close to a brand name whose moral values I have built by working 12 hours a day, 365 days a year, over the last five years. It doesn't do me any justice and it certainly doesn't do you, the international user community, any justice at all.

The bottom line –and what I would like to say all along– is that if you see a project somewhere which seems to be even remotely associated with AkeebaBackup.com, please assume it's an imposter. The only official properties of Akeeba you will find outside of AkeebaBackup.com are:

If you see anything else, anywhere else, it's not official. If you do spot something odd, please let me know so that I can contact the other party – and possibly suffer another vulgar reply.

Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos
Lead Developer, AkeebaBackup.com