October 8, 2002

The Free Standards Group announces OpenI18N certification program

Leslie Proctor writes: Less than a year after the initial release of the OpenI18N Standard (formerly Li18nux), the Free Standards Group announced the launch of the OpenI18N Certification program. OpenI18N Certification will utilize an independent authority to verify whether a Linux distribution is adhering to the community and industry developed internationalization standard.

With more than 6500 languages spoken worldwide and no open framework for application developers to plug the different languages into, native language computing has remained out of reach to most of the world market. OpenI18N has led the development of the framework, freely available implementations, written specification and tools, allowing software developers to write truly globalized programs. The OpenI18N standard provides a paradigm of "write once, run anywhere in the world", saving application developers many person-hours, increasing capabilities while reducing time-to-market.

Markets outside of the United States continue to have the fastest PC market growth rate, increasing by up to 5.8 percent annually, according to analysts at IDC. This worldwide growth is expected to be double that of the U.S. through 2005. Additional studies estimate that there will be more than 1.15 billion computers in use worldwide by 2007, with only 536 million in use in the United States and Western Europe.

"The Free Standards Group and its OpenI18N Workgroup have been moving rapidly to create standards that literally makes the computer adjust itself to human languages and culturally specific aspects, rather than making the user adjust to the computer," said Scott McNeil, Free Standards Group executive director. "Internationalization is a key element in the continued growth of Linux and Open Source worldwide."

OpenI18N defines internationalization framework and localization variables such as language, currency, time, input display, print format, paper size, address, phone number, date and name formats, and calendaring. OpenI18N also handles advanced capabilities like shape editing, writing direction, combining characters and ligature - features needed to render a number of languages such as Indic and Thai - and multilingual input methods. OpenI18N also includes a comprehensive test suite and documentation.

"OpenI18N is being developed by a global body of Open Source developers," said Hideki Hiura, OpenI18N Workgroup chair. "Our new workgroup name, OpenI18N, better reflects the fact that while the standard is built on Linux, the framework is truly open. This allows for the adoption of the standard by any computer operating system. This is Open Source development at its best."

The OpenI18N Certification program was not created to be a profit center for the Free Standards Group. Prices are kept to a minimum to encourage developers and Linux distributions to become OpenI18N Certified. Information on OpenI18N Certification can be found at www.freestandards.org/certification.

With OpenI18N's full complement standards, tools and testing capabilities and with the addition of the OpenI18N Certification program, the Free Standards Group has created indispensable tools for Linux.

About the Free Standards Group
Supported by industry leaders, the Free Standards Group is an independent, vendor-neutral, non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the use and acceptance of Open Source technologies through the development, application and promotion of standards. Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., the Free Standards Group fulfills a critical need in the open source development community to have common behavioral specifications, tools and APIs, making development across Linux distributions easier. More information on the Free Standards Group is available at www.freestandards.org.

Link: freestandards.org

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