04 October 2010

Introducing Gally

For my senior design project in school, I decided to design and write a program for teaching sign languages on Linux. It was in a "working prototype" stage when I presented it in school in April. I had a few more things I wanted to get right before announcing it to the whole FOSS world, but I just got confirmation from Nigel Babu that the last known bug in RC3 is fixed, so it's time to release!

Here's what it looks like (though that "France" sign video is removed since I did the sign backwards…should probably correct the text under it…oops):

Gally screenshot (France)

Packages for version 0.5 (what I'm calling the first stable release) are in the Gally stable release PPA for Lucid, and in Universe for Maverick. It'll be uploaded to Debian Unstable soon.

This release only supports American Sign Language, but some of the lessons have been translated into French and German. On the roadmap for 1.0 is support for installing multiple sign languages (yes, places have different sign languages), hopefully through KGetHotNewStuff. Quizzing should also be in that version. That means that people who know BSL, LSF, DSL, Auslan, NZSL, or any of the others whose names I don't know are certainly wanted to start preparing lessons for that version!

I suspect a bit of an FAQ is in order:

  1. Why name it "Gally"?
    • That is the nickname for Gallaudet, which can refer either to Gallaudet University or Thomas Gallaudet, who started the first deaf school in the US. It was based on French teaching methods.
  2. What licence is it under?
    • GPLv3
  3. What's it written in?
    • PyKDE
  4. What if I use GNOME?
    • Use sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends gally to avoid pulling in half of Kubuntu
  5. Is there an IRC channel?
    • Yes, #gally on irc.freenode.net
  6. How can I help?
    • Suggest lesson topics
    • Write up a lesson plan (list of signs for a suggested lesson or one you thought of)
    • Convert a lesson plan into XML
    • Submit videos of you signing what's in a lesson plan
    • Make or find CC-BY or CC-BY-SA clipart or photos to work as "context" with the lessons (like the French flag in the screenshot)
    • Help make the GUI translatable

You will need to download the ASL lesson pack (link is to this month's snapshot) to study ASL. Use your favourite archive manager (Ark, File Roller, tar) to put the contents in either ~/.kde/share/apps/gally/ (if only you will use it) or /usr/share/kde4/apps/gally/ (for all users on the system). That means the lessons.lang ends up in ~/.kde/share/apps/gally/ASL/ or /usr/share/kde4/apps/gally/ASL/

Thanks go to the folks who've been testing and Nigel in particular for helping me roll through RCs, Paul Hummer for writing the original setup.py when I am new enough to Python to have never done this, and Karen Rustad for making a nice icon (which isn't in the screenshot, since it's an old one) based on the ASL sign for "teach."


6 comments:

Al Haraka said...

Cool stuff. Just ran into your blog again after a long time. You might be curious about an alternative way of writing ASL instead of just using English translations (I have not used the app, so it is possible you are doing something like this instead of just video or picture to show signing). SignWriting has really matured, and I follow it on lists because it is rare to which people create orthographies like this.

http://www.signwriting.org/

Enjoy.

Mackenzie said...

Nobody actually uses sign writing outside of academic circles. I know one person who could at one time read it, and he learned it as an intellectual exercise as someone who works at Gallaudet University. The purpose of the text at the bottom is to explain the image to the user (who very likely does not know sign writing) and to make it possible for visually-impaired users (who wouldn't be able to see the sign writing) to know what to do. It's also there so notes like "don't sign apple too high, or else it'll become onion" can be included.

klaatu said...

looks like an interview about this application posted on hackerpublicradio.org

Almost as if it were planned.

geralOE said...

Its interesting!
I searched for long time free software to learn signal language!
Congratulations!
I would like to collaborate!

Unknown said...

Was wondering if you were still actively working gally? There's a discussion on a facebook page I frequent (Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology) about the Sorenson company possibly dropping their Video Relay Service for deaf & HOH (07/08/2013). I use Linux-Mint 13 and was wondering how difficult it would be to add to gally so that it could convert sign to audio and of course audio to sign, or would that be too much of a stretch?
BTW, there are quite a few who use sign outside of academic circles and this would really be a treat for them.

Mackenzie said...

No, I'm not, and making it do that would be....I have no idea how. It's just a flashcard app.