SignWriting on OmegaWiki ;-)

GerardM gerard.meijssen at GMAIL.COM
Sun Apr 29 18:46:42 UTC 2007

OmegaWiki exists in two planes; there is the standard MediaWiki
functionality. This is the functionality that you see in the portals. And
there is an extension to MediaWiki that is specific to OmegaWiki. This is
the functionality that allows us to work on lexical, terminological and
ontological information it allows us to represent database information in
many user interfaces.

Storing discrete information is probably easiest done in the "Wikidata"
functionality. Storing text information that is in a fixed, unmutable format
in MediaWiki is quite contrary to the core ideas of what a Wiki stands for.
In a Wiki an article is started by someone and someone else takes it further
and in the process may become quite different from the original incarnation.
This means that having the content in a PDF kinda way is not really
feasible. When the information of an article is stored in a XML format, the
data is not stored in a fixed way. It therefore allows people to get it,
change it and save it. MediaWiki has a history mechanism that allows for
saving changes.

When Steve mentions copyrights, it is important to realise that the
copyright stays with the copyright holder. The copyright holder can extend a
license to someone else and also provide the same data or programming under
many licenses.  The key thing to appreciate is what is it that you aim to
achieve. My understanding is that you aim to emancipate the sign languages
and allow the deaf to register their own history and culture in their own
language. This means to me that the more functionality allows for the use of
sign languages exists, the better your aims will be achieved.

There are key technologies  to consider. Valerie holds the copyright to the
characters. She wants everyone without restrictions to be able to use the
SignWriting characters. The SignPuddle software and much of the other
software is freely available for all to have. It however does not state
license information and consequently many people who are aware of licenses
are hesitant to use it. There are licenses specific to fonts, there are
licenses specific to software, there are licenses specific to data and,
database designs are licensed too typically under a software license.

When MediaWiki is to be adapted to use SignWriting, there will be a need to
do some research to understand what it is that needs doing. This does not
imply a necessity for UNICODE. It implies careful analysis. I agree with
Steve that there will be many ways to skin this cat however, what is
considered the MediaWiki functionality has to be there in order for it to be
a success.

MediaWiki is GPL licensed. This has particular implications, one of them is
that when you get GPL licensed software you are Free to use it and change it
but you are not free to change the license of the changed product. All in
all licenses are not easy and they are certainly not something that you want
to rush into.

First and foremost is, what is it that you want to achieve and how do you
achieve these things best. This is not something to rush. Yes we can have
Wikipedias in SignWriting, but to get there we will have to take time to
consider the requirements carefully.


On 4/29/07, Valerie Sutton <signwriting at> wrote:
> SignWriting List
> April 29, 2007
> On Apr 29, 2007, at 9:12 AM, Steve Slevinski wrote:
> > Hi Val,
> >
> > This would be an easy extension for any website.  Upload a zip file
> > of the column images or download a zip file.  We'd need a server
> > side and the AJAX viewer.  We could create add-ons for OmegaWiki,
> > using a copyright compliant license.  We could also make the viewer
> > a free download for other websites to help promote the use of
> > SignWriting.
> >
> > Write in SignPuddle, export the columns as a zip.  Upload the zip
> > file to the website.  We could also include the SWML in the zip.
> > Very easy to use for now and for later when the SWML is used directly.
> >
> > I'm rewriting SWML into STML for the new SignText.  It will include
> > PDFs as well.  Does any have the software list for splitting and
> > combining PDFs.  The Mac and the PC are both unique.
> >
> > Regards,
> > -Steve
> --------------
> Hi Steve!
> This sounds amazing and I look forward to Gerard's communication
> about this...
> It will be a real boon for Sign Languages around the world to have
> these features to use quickly on other web sites...thank you, Steve!
> Regarding the question about splitting and combining PDFs...obviously
> the best solution someday, is to have the actual document inside
> SignText, export with page breaks, so that the page breaks are a part
> of the PDF created from the beginning...the SignText PDF should
> someday be able to create multiple-paged-PDFs from the start,
> eliminating the need for combining PDFs...
> Until that day comes, the best program to use, which is for both Mac
> and PC, is the Adobe Acrobat Professional program, which is the way
> most people edit and combine PDFs. In Acrobat Professional you can do
> so much...including changing actual text and graphics, and you can
> insert, delete, replace pages in a variety of formats and so forth...
> As far as free programs that do that...there are hundreds it seems...
> and there are source code for some of these programs free on the web...
> For example...
> here is the source code for one of them on the Macintosh:
> and here is one on the PC:
> Val ;-)
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