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Language Support for RIPE Atlas Software Probes

Lia Hestina — 09 Nov 2020
Contributors: Robert Kisteleki
Software probes provide yet another way to help grow the RIPE Atlas network. As many new hosts opt for this alternative, getting RIPE Atlas into new places means helping people install and run the relevant software packages. Language support will be key to this, and we have a plan to provide it, but we’re going to need your help!

For ten years, we’ve been shipping RIPE Atlas hardware probes to hosts all over the world. These devices are plug and play, so challenges in bringing new hosts online have come mainly from distribution as opposed to installation. With the newer software probes, introduced earlier this year, things are the other way around. Software probes help solve the distribution problem, but they come with a more involved installation process.

Installation Instructions

We’ve made every effort to ensure that the software probe installation instructions are clear and easy to follow. Provided you have the required technical knowledge – e.g. experience installing software packages on your devices, basic knowledge of TCP/IP – setting up your software probe shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

The challenge, especially as we try to reach new parts of the world, is making sure that hosts-to-be also have the information they need to bring their probes online. For non-English speakers, this means providing accurate translations of the existing instructions. As we don't have the resources to produce these translations ourselves, getting this information in other languages will depend on help from the RIPE Atlas community.

The Plan

We're calling on the community to translate installation instructions for RIPE Atlas software probes into as many languages as possible!

Instruction manuals for setting up software probes are available in English on GitHub for the RIPE NCC officially supported platforms - i.e. CentOS 7 and 8. There are also manuals for other platforms, some of which have been provided my community members.

To address the translation issue, we’re calling on anyone out there - anyone who installed a software probe, or has knowledge of RIPE Atlas, or who simply wants to help out - to consider translating the existing instructions into other languages and uploading them to GitHub.

RIPE Atlas Software Probe Manuals on GitHub

We're using GitHub because it’s a well-known platform for collaboration that is perfectly suited to the task at hand. Anyone who's interested can see the current state of documentation and contribute via the standard issue management and pull-request mechanisms. If you’re not familiar with any of this, but are still keen to help out, we recommend using this GitHub guide to get started.

Important to note: we intend to keep the English versions authoritative for the officially supported platforms and we will continue to help community members keep English versions for other platforms up to date. Making sure that all translations are aligned with the authoritative version will depend very much on the best efforts of the wider community. To help keep things synchronised, we encourage anyone who finds mistakes in the manuals to open issues in the GitHub repo.

Video

And there's another way to help! As well as calling on people to upload versions of written instructions in their own languages on Github, we are also calling on anyone who would be interested in putting together demo videos in other languages. 

Swapneel Patnekar on how to install the RIPE Atlas software probe in 5 minutes using the CentOS 7/8 Binary (RPM) platform

We already have a couple of examples, in English and Russian, available on YouTube. Alternatively, if making a video sounds like a lot of effort, you could consider adding subtitles in your own language to one of the existing videos.

Translation Through Collaboration

RIPE Atlas has always been, by its nature, a collaborative project driven by the continued efforts of an active community. Given what has been achieved so far, we have every confidence that the approach discussed here will yield good results. Making software probes more easily available to non-English speakers will be another significant step forward in the expansion of RIPE Atlas, increasing the number of vantage points available, and bringing it closer to providing a truly representative view of the state of the global Internet.

By getting involved now you have an opportunity to hit three birds with one stone. As a speaker of another language, you’ll give your local community access to a fantastic platform; as a RIPE Atlas user, you’ll have more data at your disposal about the state of the Internet in your part of the world; and, last but not least, as a citizen of the Internet community, you’ll be providing everyone with a better resource for monitoring and measuring the Internet.

Get Started Today!

You can go to the repository right now and start translating the instruction manuals to your local language. Or, if making video is your thing, share your YouTube demo video on how you use the RIPE Atlas with us at atlas _at_ ripe _dot_ net, and we’ll add them to our community contribution playlist.

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