Where We Are Now

L10n projects can get real big attention from users. For volunteer projects of private people, that may turn out to bring some problems with growing user interest. On the other hand, especially as a private volunteer contributor, it can make you even more fond of that project seeing the little baby of yours grow and grow.

An Example: The Mozilla German Project

In late 1999, working with M11, I discovered that XUL has nice text/code seperation, and tried to dig into it by changing some strings to German equivalents - just for fun. Being the first one to do this for that language, I stumbled into being the leader of the German L10n project and released M12 German on 2000-01-01.
A lot has happened since then. The small HTML page I made up for downloading that build turned into a heavily accessed web site, now residing at mozilla.kairo.at.
In January 2004, that site was accessed by over 740000 different hosts, hitting the main page just under one million times, the support page (default home page of German builds) had almost 800000 hits. With 44000 visits of people per day (average), the site produced 20 GB of HTML traffic.
As a student, I'd have some problems paying for the server that hosts all that alone, and affording visiting FOSDEM as well on my cost would also be not too easy. I'd like to thank all donators of the Mozilla German project for making it possible to keep the site up and attend here, and my parents as well for supporting me to come here and spend some time on Mozilla next to studying.
The downloads are hosted by mozilla.org, universities and my student home, and I don't have reliable download counters for those, so I can't tell any download numbers. From ftp.mozilla.org numbers alone, it seems to be the most-used localization by far though.
The German localization of Mozilla gets included in all CDs of the big German magazine PC-WELT, the German XPI pack is on the mozilla.org 1.6 CD (AFAIK), SUSE LINUX does include German packs for Mozilla, and probably it's shipped in various other ways as well.
Two other contributors are shipping translated version of Firefox and Thunderbird based on that work, and the German Mozilla newsgroup de.comm.software.mozilla has been split into a hierarchy of 4 newsgroups because one group couldn't handle the traffic of currently 4000 postings a month.
Recently, I've given an interview for a German SAP magazine, and an Austrian computer magazine asked me for one as well. It's pretty astonishing...
On the other hand, I'm spending some hours a week answering mails telling users that I'm just a translator, and I can't do support, pointing them to FAQs and newsgroups.
There are still other problems left in Mozilla itself that bug us L10n people...