Finnish Research and Open Source Team (FROST)

The FROST is a team that relates to SIL Software Development, but is managed by Wycliffe Finland. It provides for volunteer programmers especially in Finland an opportunity to contribute to software development projects that produce FOSS tools for language documentation and translation. The following is a quote (in Finnish) from the kickoff words for the team:

Lyhenne FROST tulee sanoista Finnish Research and Open Source Team. FROST on Suomen Wycliffen alainen ohjelmantuotantotiimi, joka tuottaa tietokoneohjelmia, joita raamatunkääntäjät ja kielitieteilijät tarvitsevat työssään. FROST keskittyy tuottamaan näitä ohjelmia Macintoshille ja Linuxille.

FROSTin tavoitteena on yhdessä muiden kanssa tuottaa erityisesti sellaisia ohjelmia, joita paikalliset ihmiset voivat käyttää. Tyypillinen käyttäjä on aasialainen riisinviljelijä, ei akateemisen koulutuksen saanut länsimaalainen kielitieteilijä.

FROSTin strategiana on kestävä kehitys ohjelmistotuotannossa. Tämä tarkoittaa sitä, että yritämme käyttää pitkäikäisiä työkaluja ja standardeja tiedostomuotoja. Yritämme myös tuottaa helposti ylläpidettäviä ohjelmia, jotka ovat mahdollisimman helppokäyttöisiä ja joissa on natiivi look and feel. Sen sijaan, että rakentaisimme yhtä isoa lentotukialusta, teemme pieniä moottoriveneitä. (Kari Valkama, the team leader, in the first FROST meeting 2007)

Relevant parts of this introduction and the motivation (in the bottom of this page) will be moved down to sub-pages such as FrostOutline, FrostMotivation, FrostPlatform and FrostLicense.


Introduction Comment
FrostOutline FROST: Outline, Aims
FrostMotivation FROST: Motivation
FrostTutorial FROST: Models for Projects
FrostWorkFlow FROST: Calendar and Agenda
FrostContributing FROST: Contributing
FrostTheTeam FROST: About the People Who Contributed to or Work on the Projects

Overview of the Results

Overviews Comment
FrostPlatforms FROST: Software Platforms and System Requirements
FrostTools FROST: Available Tools
FrostDownloads FROST: Downloads
FrostLicense FROST: License
FrostCases FROST: Case Examples
FrostPublications FROST: Publications

Documentation of Tool Projects

Tool Comment Status
FrostPythonBeta pythonbeta − A Free Clone of Benny Brodda's "Beta" System for String Rewriting for Corpus Linguists completed
FrostCBeta cbeta − A Faster and Redesigned Free Clone of "Beta" System for String Rewriting for Corpus Linguists starting
FrostSalama frostsalama − A Bundled Set of Free Utilities for Building SALAMA-like Language Managers starting
FrostTranTrak trantrak − A Simple Tool for Translation Process Management  
FrostLexT lext − A Simple Tool for Corcordancing and Searching for Collocates in Texts; Inspired by the original MSDOS-based SIL Lex Tools. The scope of the program is somewhat overlapping with SIL Toolbox and MPI Lexus, but not to be confused with AT&T lextools or lex programming tool for lexical scanners, although the names are similar.  
FrostTextAssistant textassistant − A Tool for Text Exploration, Similar to ...

More on FROST Activities

Other documents Comment
FrostAllPages FROST: List of All FROST Documentation Pages
Giving Birth to FROST An External Home Page for the Team Kick-Off Meetings and the FROST Manager's Blog (in Finnish).


Credits Comment
HFST Documentation The HFST Project Gives a Good Example of the Use of KitWiki for Software Documentation.
SIL Software Items in SIL Software have provably been used or invented by field linguists, but some of the best tools are not available for Mac or Linux.
Beta PC Beta was invented by Benny Brodda in Stockholm University. An efficient reimplementation of Beta is due to Kimmo Koskenniemi, but the code is not free.

External Motivation (Examples)

Reference Quote or Comment
Crystal, David. (2000). Language death Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-65321-5. David Crystal's book presents prompting scenarios for the future of most languages in the world. Some languages could be revitalized with language development and the others still need to be documented as invaluable heritage for the future linguistic and antropological research.
Steven Bird. (2009). "Natural Language Processing and Linguistic Fieldwork." Computational Linguistics Vol. 35, No. 3, Pages 469--474. DOI 10.1162/coli.35.3.469. Steven Bird argues for the need for more adequate computational tools for language documentation in field linguistics was expressed.
The CLARIN Research Infrastructure Languages and documents are not studied without proper tools. Tools for field linguists complement the toos for corpus linguists while there is also a significant overlap.
Eduard Hovy, Nancy Ide, Robert Frederking, Joseph Mariani, and Antonio Zampolli (editors). (2001). "Multilingual Information Management: Current Levels and Future Abilities". Linguistica Computazionale, Volume XIV-XV, Publisher: Insituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali, Pisa, Italy, 2001. ISSN 0392-6907. According to the message of this document a citizen do not belong to the Information Society unless he/she he can use his/her own language.
Tunis Commitment, World Summit on the Information Society "In addition to building ICT infrastructure, there should be adequate emphasis on developing human capacity and creating ICT applications and digital content in local language, where appropriate, so as to ensure a comprehensive approach to building a global Information Society."
Sami spell checking in Linux Open-source spell checking can support language development of small languages, as the Sami project demonstrates in the case of some under-resourced European languages. SALAMA is a computational system facilitating many kinds of applications based on written Swahili text. It demonstrates that even non-European languages benefit from language technology and tools like Beta. It is a forerunner for many ongoing projects concerning under-resourced African languages.
The Bantu Initiative The `Bantu Initiative', headed by Roger Van Otterloo, seeks to capture the lexicon and grammar across the Bantu language landscape. This initiative is a brave expression on the need to study a group of 500 languages using both text and sound based computational tools.
SIL International: Why Languages Matter? Meeting Millenium Development Goals through local languages "Language-based development is a series of ongoing planned actions that a language community takes to ensure that their language continues to serve their changing social, cultural, political, economic and spiritual needs and goals." Accordingly, also computational tools such as spell checkers, lexicon management tools and translation editors should be employable primarily by the local people.
Ghana is committed to FOSS penetration in Africa A Ghanaian minister of communications says: "Our young people are being given the opportunity to learn Ruby and Open Source programming languages and to develop software while they are still in school. -- Ghana sees FOSS solutions as alternatives to Africa’s communication problems and encouraged the media to be part of this development. -- FOSS solution enthrones accountability, transparency and encourages growth, which is what is currently needed in the continent in bridging the digital divide. "
Topic revision: r5 - 2009-11-03 - AnssiYliJyra
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