Rarely do I get embarrassed, but it happened today. The previous time was in a restaurant in Brooklyn where we were ordering wine and I said “I’ll drink anything, but I’m not drinking the f**king Merlot”. It’s a line from the movie Sideways, and while I didn’t realize who he was at the time, I was sitting next to Paul Giamatti, the actor who spoke the line. True story. I turned so red.
Anyway, at the request of Stefano Heisig we are starting up a German language OpenNMS mailing list on Sourceforge called opennms-deutschland. I figured I’d ask Alex Finger to join Stefano as admins and with both of them on board I went, added the list, and then I needed to set a password.
I decided to choose “gemeinschaft” as the password, since the Internet assured me it meant “community” in German. Being culturally sensitive, I tested it forward and backward, and it always came out as “community”.
I sent it to Alex and Stefano and Alex writes back:
omg you’re sooo bad 😉
I’m thinking “what?!? What did I get wrong? Doesn’t ‘gemeinschaft’ mean community?”
He sent me to the Wikipedia article for “volksgemeinschaft” which translates to “people’s community”. Unfortunately, it was a term used heavily as propaganda by the Nazis (I’ll leave any open source/fauxpen source comparisons to the reader). I was mortified, but I am thankful Alex wasn’t offended. I hope Stefano wasn’t either.
I changed the password.
I hope that story doesn’t take away from the fact that we now have an OpenNMS mailing list dedicated to discussing the project in German. I’ll be following along the best I can, and I hope it proves useful.