Sun to establish localisation lab at UL


29 Sep 2004

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Sun Microsystems Ireland and the Localisation Resource Centre (LRC) at the University of Limerick (UL) are to establish a Sun Localisation Laboratory at the LRC. The facility will be used for research, teaching and doing localisation work on Sun and open source platforms. Sun is kitting out the facility with 10 computers running either Solaris – Sun’s proprietary operating system – or Linux.

The venture is intended to strengthen the relationships between industry and education by allowing researchers to learn more about Sun and open source platforms and students to gain experience in the practical application of localisation quality assurance (QA) concepts while gaining exposure to Sun technologies.

Sun will benefit by supplementing its existing QA team with students who have language and technical skills, explained Dolores Eccles Lavelle, globalisation programme manager at Sun Microsystems. “It will be a key QA facility in helping us to deliver high-quality globalised products for our Java Desktop and Java Enterprise System products,” she said. The initiative would be “vital” in developing partnerships between industry and education in the software industry in Ireland, she claimed.

Commenting on the role of the new lab, Reinhard Schäler, director of the LRC, said: “Open source software is becoming an increasingly important part of international software development and localisation. The exposure students will have through their work with Sun Microsystems will be invaluable for their future career development.”

In an interview with siliconrepublic.com, he added: “There is a lot of activity around OSS. It’s still small but it is getting very close to the tipping point where it’s going to explode. We’re involved in several projects in south-east Asia and there are fewer localised versions of Windows available than there are localised versions of open source software.”

He continued: “A lot of the localisation industry is mainstream Windows-based stuff. For us, it is useful to get involved in other platforms including open source software. OSS opens up opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist.”

Schäler felt open source software could be particularly effective in driving the development of Irish language software. “Under the [Official Languages Act 2003], government information has to be made available in both English and Ireland but currently there’s no software that runs in Irish. There’s only a lightly localised version of Windows,” he noted.

The Localisation Research Centre (LRC) was established at University College Dublin in 1995, before re-locating three years later to UL’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems. It positions itself as the focal point and research and educational centre for the Irish localisation community.

By Brian Skelly