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Juan Jose Amor Iglesias
Current coordinator of the LuCAS project, part of the LDP and devoted to the translation and localization of MDL manuals in Spanish. http://lml.ls.fi.upm.es/~jjamor/

Interview with Juan Jose Amor


Abstract: Interview with , coordinator of the LuCAS Project (LinUx en CAStellano).

LF: What is LuCAS and how did it come about?

J.J. Amor: LuCAS means literally Linux in Spanish. It is non-for-profit organization whose goal is the production and maintenance of the Linux Operating System in Spanish.

LuCAS was born after we decided to translate Matt Welsh's Book "Linux: Instalation Guide and First Steps" ( "Linux: Instalación y Primeros Pasos"). The success of that first project and the number of volunteers that joined us shortly after allowed us to become organized and undertake other projects.

LuCAS is now more that 4 years old and its website, according to a number of statistics, is the most frequented by Spanish-speaking Linux users.

LF: How is it organized?

J.J. Amor:We have two type of projects in LuCAS: translations and revisions. In each area our collaborators may choose to work on long manuals or short documents (HOWTO). Every person has a different style. To translate a manual we request volunteers to our mailing lists. The coordinator of the public translation publishes a set of rules and recommendations in order to maintain a level of clarity and promptitude needed to reach deadlines. Then we send out chapters to those people really interested on the project. The revisions operate similarly but under shorter deadlines.

Our rules usually include recommended schedules for the translation (estimated number pages/day) and according to the coordinator, these deadlines are taken more seriously or not. For example, my habit is to start sending emails to people several days after the deadline. If I see that people do not respond I simply reassign the work to somebody else in our replacement list (we always have enough volunteers!).

It is necessary to do this, despite causing friction with some "sleeping" contributor, because we all work for free and it is very easy to be abandoned; sometimes the culprit is exams, studies or a "real job".

Short documents are usually assigned in its complete form to a single collaborator. The ideal in this scenario is that this person later on maintains the document (helped by suggestions received from people) and if possible consults with the author of the original in order to update the translation.

LF: What tools do you use? How do you pay for all these??

J.J. Amor: We use free tools (LaTeX and SGML-Tools, mainly; besides supporting them on a good Linux system with vi/emacs), so we do not really need economic resources for anything. The distribution of our works through numerous servers is paid by universities and companies that do not charge us anything in exchange, well almost anything (maybe a banner ;-)).

LF: How could anyone participate in this project?

J.J. Amor: The best procedure is to go to our web site http://lucas.ctv.es/ an cosult "How to Participate".

LF: What experience is necessary to join and help? Is it necessary to be a computer guru to participate in LuCAS?

J.J. Amor: No you don't have to be a guru, not even remotely. It is necessary to have a minimum level on technical English and on the subject to be translated, just sufficient to understand the original. It is also convenient to be able to edit easily in correct Spanish, avoiding literal translations and things of that sort.

LF: How many people are in LuCAS right now?

J.J. Amor:There might be a group of 8 to 10 people from the initial founding group. Beisdes us, there are more than 100 people subscribed to our mailing lists that offer help from time to time.

LF: What else do you do in life? Does it leave you time for LuCAS?

J.J. Amor: My professional life is devoted right now to software development in a big company. In my free time I usually hang around with friends and LuCAS, which really has two goals: the defense of the free software paradigm and of the spanish language.

LF: Could you give us a scoop on upcoming projects ?

J.J. Amor:We are translating right now the Linux Kernel Guide. We are also working on redesigning our official website, in the future it will contain information an all projects in our language. Let us hope this ne LuCAS website doesn't take too long to see the ligth.

LF: Which project in your opinion has been the most important?

J.J. Amor: Until now the manual that has received the most commendations from readers has been the Network Administration Guide: it seems it is very usefull to ISP professionals, working not only with Linux, but with any other version of UNIX. On the other hand, the Introduction Guide (LIPP) has a lot of popularity among new users.

LF: How do you you see the current environment for Linux in Spain? (more specifically, how do companies, universities, etc.. see Linux?)

J.J. Amor: Linux is responsible, in my opinion, for the bringing the trust of many professionals back to UNIX. I am one of few that beleive that Unix is recovering market, an mostly thanks to Linux and more exactly due to its robustness.

On the other hand, Linux is used in universities more and more every day, as a general multiuser system (user accounts, ISP, etc..) and a development platform in research environments.

Translation by Miguel Angel Sepulveda

These webpages are maintain by Miguel Ángel Sepúlveda
LinuxFocus 1998