Sunday, January 6, 2019

New Year, New Tatoeba

Happy New Year everyone :)

In a couple of weeks we will be releasing a new version of Tatoeba! The deployment is currently scheduled on January 19th. On the surface, you won’t be noticing any difference. Same look, same features (kind of). But there will be actually some major changes.

We’re handling a new license: Creative Commons Zero

It will be possible for Tatoeba contributors to choose between Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) and Creative Commons Zero (CC0) when submitting new sentences.

The difference between CC-BY and CC0:
  • With CC-BY anyone can reuse the data for any purpose, but is required to mention where they got the data from.
  • With CC0 there is no requirement at all, no need to say where the data comes from.
As a contributor, if you do not wish to use CC0, you will not have to. You can continue contributing as you used to, nothing will change for you. Your sentences will keep being released under CC-BY.

If you however want your contributions to be reused in other projects without any strings attached, then you’ll have the possibility to contribute new sentences under CC0, as well as switch the license of your existing sentences to CC0 under some conditions.

All of this will be detailed further once we deploy the new Tatoeba.

We’re migrating to CakePHP 3

Tatoeba is built on top of a framework called CakePHP. We’ve always been lagging behind, using much older versions than the latest available. The current website is still based on version 2.9, while version 3 was released almost four years ago. But we’ve finally been able to catch up and migrated our code to work on CakePHP 3.6.

There are still a few features to migrate, but we should be ready to deploy in two weeks!

For our non-tech-savvy users, this migration will perhaps feel like we went backwards. There will be nothing new, but there may be some features broken and there may be some features working slower than they used to. We will be fixing all of that within the following weeks, so please bear with us.

This migration was an important task for the longer term, for the same reasons than when we migrated from CakePHP 1 to CakePHP 2 a couple of years ago: there are various technical benefits and Tatoeba can now hopefully look more attractive for the developers out there who want to contribute to an open source project.

If you are one of these developers, we will be more than happy to welcome you onboard. Don’t be afraid to contact us.

We’re growing as an organisation

Looking back at when we had our “big crash” in 2017 and people were a bit worried about the state of Tatoeba, and looking at where we are now, Tatoeba has made a big step forward as an organisation.

Back then, Tatoeba was funded only with donations. These donations helped us paying for the server but we never made big campaigns and could not do much more with our money. Hiring staff was completely out of reach.

Thanks to Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS), this has changed. We heard of the MOSS program after Mozilla Common Voice approached us to explore ways of collaboration. We applied for it and got accepted. We were awarded $25,000 and were able to hire our first employee.

This made a huge difference for us. Not only the integration of the CC0 license and the migration to CakePHP 3 were possible thanks to this award, but we were also able to fix many bugs and implement many improvements.

We will undoubtedly apply for MOSS again, but we will also look into other ways to get fundings. The next big goal would be to find a sustainable flow of income for the decades to come.

2018 was a pretty good year for us. Let's hope the trend continues in 2019 :)

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