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Old 07-03-2011, 06:01 AM
Gunnar Hjalmarsson
 
Default Language chooser at login

I have discussed briefly with a couple of developers whether there
should be a language chooser on the login screen, and we believe it's a
suitable topic for this list.

The background is that GDM has provided a language chooser for a long
time, but GNOME has (for unclear reasons) dropped it in GDM 3, which
will be an available display manager in Oneiric. LightDM, which will be
the default dm in Oneiric, had a language chooser in the Natty version,
but in the latest versions it has been disabled.

I'm of the opinion that we should keep providing a language chooser
widget on the login screen, either in the greeter or on the top panel.
Before giving the reasons for my view, I'd like to clarify which kind of
language chooser it is that I advocate.

In short, I'd like it to work as it currently does in Natty. Unlike
before, when there was a plain locale chooser that didn't play well with
the Lucid and Maverick versions of language-selector, in Natty GDM's
language chooser

- has a list whose options represent available translations (which in
some languages, such as English and Spanish, means a significantly
shorter list than before),

- persistently changes the user language, and

- is well synchronized with language-selector.

Over to my arguments:

If you change the display language within a session, it does not take
effect in that session, but only after you have logged out and logged in
again. The language setting is one of the few things that works that way.

Those who typically make use of the language chooser on the login screen
are reasonably users who alter between two or more display languages.
Maybe that group is a small share of the Ubuntu users, but to them it's
much more convenient to be able to set the language before logging in,
compared to logging in, opening language-selector, changing the
language, logging out and then logging in again.

Future growth of Ubuntu users will probably be higher outside the
English speaking countries than the average growth, so both the number
and percentage of multi-lingual users, and consequently also the group
that appreciate an opportunity to change language at login, ought to
increase.

From an Ubuntu user perspective, the question isn't if we should add a
language chooser to the login screen, but the question is whether it
would be a good idea to remove the feature. Is there any disadvantage
with it worth mentioning for those who don't use it? Has anybody
complained of its pure existence? ;-)

i18n is a key point in the Ubuntu philosophy, and the relative
importance of i18n matters in general is growing. In the light of that,
I think that removing the language chooser from the login screen would
send the wrong signals to prospective Ubuntu users.

So let's not do so, please.

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Old 07-04-2011, 02:44 AM
Robert Ancell
 
Default Language chooser at login

I've cc'd in Mika and John, who worked on the design of the new greeter
(not the greeter that is currently delivered with Oneiric) and Charline
who does user testing as they will probably have good opinions on this
feature.
> I'm of the opinion that we should keep providing a language chooser
> widget on the login screen, either in the greeter or on the top panel.
> Before giving the reasons for my view, I'd like to clarify which kind of
> language chooser it is that I advocate.
This seems to be completely the opposite way we should tackle this. We
need to know what requirements the user has for language support, and
this will determine what GUI elements are appropriate to achieve this.
> If you change the display language within a session, it does not take
> effect in that session, but only after you have logged out and logged in
> again. The language setting is one of the few things that works that way.
Yes, it's an unfortunate limitation of the system we use.
> Those who typically make use of the language chooser on the login screen
> are reasonably users who alter between two or more display languages.
> Maybe that group is a small share of the Ubuntu users, but to them it's
> much more convenient to be able to set the language before logging in,
> compared to logging in, opening language-selector, changing the
> language, logging out and then logging in again.
Can you provide some examples of these types of users, and why/how they
currently switch language?

From what I've gathered talking to people the classes of user are:
1. Users who set the system language at install/first boot time, and
never change it (the vast majority)
2. English as a second language users, who switch between their native
language and English (this is a class of user I don't understand well).
I think the reason for this is because the translations are not always
good enough? Is this a power user feature?
3. Testers/developers who want to easily change language for testing
(their requirements should not be exposed to normal users)

I haven't heard of any standard user requirements to switch between more
than two languages, or two languages that do not include English (please
post here if you know of any).
> Future growth of Ubuntu users will probably be higher outside the
> English speaking countries than the average growth, so both the number
> and percentage of multi-lingual users, and consequently also the group
> that appreciate an opportunity to change language at login, ought to
> increase.
And I'd expect these users to use their preferred language and not need
to change it at all. We need to work out what "the group that
appreciate an opportunity to change language at login" are trying to
achieve. The multi-lingual users I've talked to do not change their
language settings frequently.
> From an Ubuntu user perspective, the question isn't if we should add a
> language chooser to the login screen, but the question is whether it
> would be a good idea to remove the feature. Is there any disadvantage
> with it worth mentioning for those who don't use it? Has anybody
> complained of its pure existence? ;-)
Users who don't use this feature are not going to miss it. Users who do
need to be able to achieve the functionality they had before, but not
necessarily using the same method.

There are disadvantages to keeping this feature:
- This feature is quite complex to support.
- By having this feature both in the login screen and in the control
center we are duplicating functionality but providing an inconsistent
method of configuring it.
- Users can accidentally change it, giving an opportunity to make their
session unusable.


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Old 07-04-2011, 07:41 AM
Oliver Grawert
 
Default Language chooser at login

hi,
Am Montag, den 04.07.2011, 12:44 +1000 schrieb Robert Ancell:
> I haven't heard of any standard user requirements to switch between
> more than two languages, or two languages that do not include English
> (please post here if you know of any).
well, just some of these environments ubuntu has traditionally been big
in ...

... pretty much every environment edubuntu is used in (public desktops
in school classrooms at universities or libraries), non personalized
computers in multilingual companies, public computers at airports,
hotels, internet cafes etc

> There are disadvantages to keeping this feature:
> - This feature is quite complex to support.
> - By having this feature both in the login screen and in the control
> center we are duplicating functionality but providing an inconsistent
> method of configuring it.
why not drop it from the control center then ? keep the configuration at
the login screen and move langpack installation into software center
where it belongs ?

> - Users can accidentally change it, giving an opportunity to make
> their session unusable.
many users in the above listed environments wont be multilingual, how
would such a user be supposed to find out how to change the language
somewhere in the control center if he/she cant even read the text on
desktop elements ? such users would be provided with an unusable session
by default.

having not at least an optional feature to enable selecting the language
at login time will make deployments in multilingual multiuser
environments really hard.

ciao
oli


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Old 07-04-2011, 10:11 AM
Matthew Paul Thomas
 
Default Language chooser at login

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Robert Ancell wrote on 04/07/11 03:44:
>
>> If you change the display language within a session, it does not take
>> effect in that session, but only after you have logged out and
>> logged in again. The language setting is one of the few things that
>> works that way.
>
> Yes, it's an unfortunate limitation of the system we use.

So far, this discussion seems to be assuming that that limitation is
unfixable. Windows has the same limitation, but Mac OS X (except for the
Finder) does not, and many multilingual Web sites do not either.

So, what would it take to remove that limitation in Ubuntu? What would
it take to switch languages on the fly?

Oliver Grawert wrote on 04/07/11 08:41:
>...
> Am Montag, den 04.07.2011, 12:44 +1000 schrieb Robert Ancell:
>>
>> I haven't heard of any standard user requirements to switch between
>> more than two languages, or two languages that do not include English
>> (please post here if you know of any).
>
> well, just some of these environments ubuntu has traditionally been
> big in ...
>
> ... pretty much every environment edubuntu is used in (public desktops
> in school classrooms at universities or libraries), non personalized
> computers in multilingual companies, public computers at airports,
> hotels, internet cafes etc

As I understand it, those environments use either a guest session, or a
single non-admin user account with no password.

GDM in Ubuntu does not let you choose the language when logging in to a
guest session. <http://launchpad.net/bugs/310801>

Nor does it let you choose the language when logging in to an account
with no password. <http://launchpad.net/bugs/508552>

So if those are the use cases, then GDM's language selection is
perfectly useless: it lets you choose a language only when you don't
need to.

>> There are disadvantages to keeping this feature:
>> - This feature is quite complex to support.
>> - By having this feature both in the login screen and in the control
>> center we are duplicating functionality but providing an inconsistent
>> method of configuring it.
>
> why not drop it from the control center then ? keep the configuration
> at the login screen and move langpack installation into software
> center where it belongs ?

Even if it was true that language pack installation "belongs" in USC
(which it isn't), that would be irrelevant. Imagine a computer on which
every language pack is installed. People would still need to switch from
one language to another.

>> - Users can accidentally change it, giving an opportunity to make
>> their session unusable.
>
> many users in the above listed environments wont be multilingual, how
> would such a user be supposed to find out how to change the language
> somewhere in the control center if he/she cant even read the text on
> desktop elements ? such users would be provided with an unusable
> session by default.
>...

That is a good point, but for the reasons mentioned above, they have
that problem right now anyway. Putting System Settings in the launcher
by default will help. Using a large icon layout (like System Settings
does) instead of a menu with tiny icons (like the old Preferences menu)
will help too. That reduces the problem to learning, or guessing, two
large icons.

- --
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:00 AM
Gunnar Hjalmarsson
 
Default Language chooser at login

Robert,

I take it that you would like to see a solid base for decision that we
do not have access to. Given that, to me the natural conclusion is that
Ubuntu keeps providing the feature for now.

Btw, your position on this topic seems to have changed rapidly. The
language chooser is included in the design description at
http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/LightDM/Design, which I suppose
formed a part of the base for the decision to make LightDM the default
dm in Ubuntu. And a few weeks ago you stated explicitly on this list
that the feature will be included in the Oneiric release. What happened?

On 2011-07-04 04:44, Robert Ancell wrote:
> On 2011-07-03 08:01, Gunnar Hjalmarsson wrote:
>> Those who typically make use of the language chooser on the login screen
>> are reasonably users who alter between two or more display languages.
>> Maybe that group is a small share of the Ubuntu users, but to them it's
>> much more convenient to be able to set the language before logging in,
>> compared to logging in, opening language-selector, changing the
>> language, logging out and then logging in again.
>
> Can you provide some examples of these types of users, and why/how they
> currently switch language?

I probably wouldn't do that better than you. But if you think about it,
if you would require that sort of insight about every feature we are
currently providing, there are a lot of features that should be wiped
out right away. ;-)

> I haven't heard of any standard user requirements to switch between more
> than two languages, or two languages that do not include English (please
> post here if you know of any).

In another reply Oliver Grawert just gave us some examples worth
considering.

> There are disadvantages to keeping this feature:
> - This feature is quite complex to support.

How? Once in place, I fail to see that complexity. Ok, since I worked
with the current Natty solution, I'm about as biased as anyone can be...

> - By having this feature both in the login screen and in the control
> center we are duplicating functionality but providing an inconsistent
> method of configuring it.

Agreed. Certainly there is room for organizing the code better,
including sharing code between the dm and language-selector. I'd be
happy to help with that.

> - Users can accidentally change it, giving an opportunity to make their
> session unusable.

???

As I said in a bug comment, I understand that you are loaded with
various other aspects of LightDM, to make it stable before the Oneiric
release, and that you may not feel for struggling with a language
chooser on top of it. But you also know that I have offered to help out
with getting the functionality in place. You just need to open the door.

Then let's develop this aspect of the desktop further after having
considered various options more carefully and in a more structured way
than currently is the case.

--
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:57 AM
Marc Deslauriers
 
Default Language chooser at login

On Mon, 2011-07-04 at 12:44 +1000, Robert Ancell wrote:
> From what I've gathered talking to people the classes of user are:
> 1. Users who set the system language at install/first boot time, and
> never change it (the vast majority)
> 2. English as a second language users, who switch between their native
> language and English (this is a class of user I don't understand well).
> I think the reason for this is because the translations are not always
> good enough? Is this a power user feature?
> 3. Testers/developers who want to easily change language for testing
> (their requirements should not be exposed to normal users)

There is also:

4. People who create accounts for additional users

In that scenario the tools that create accounts need to be modified to
have a place to set the user's language and keyboard.

This is a _legal_ issue in certain multilingual countries where it's
unacceptable for a user to login to the wrong language and keyboard and
try and find a control panel setting to change the default.

Marc.



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Old 07-04-2011, 12:14 PM
Oliver Grawert
 
Default Language chooser at login

hi,
Am Montag, den 04.07.2011, 11:11 +0100 schrieb Matthew Paul Thomas:
> >> I haven't heard of any standard user requirements to switch between
> >> more than two languages, or two languages that do not include English
> >> (please post here if you know of any).
> >
> > well, just some of these environments ubuntu has traditionally been
> > big in ...
> >
> > ... pretty much every environment edubuntu is used in (public desktops
> > in school classrooms at universities or libraries), non personalized
> > computers in multilingual companies, public computers at airports,
> > hotels, internet cafes etc
>
> As I understand it, those environments use either a guest session, or a
> single non-admin user account with no password.
>
> GDM in Ubuntu does not let you choose the language when logging in to a
> guest session. <http://launchpad.net/bugs/310801>
>
> Nor does it let you choose the language when logging in to an account
> with no password. <http://launchpad.net/bugs/508552>
>
> So if those are the use cases, then GDM's language selection is
> perfectly useless: it lets you choose a language only when you don't
> need to.
thats indeed pretty bad, so these bugs should be bumped in priority and
get fixed then

>
> >> There are disadvantages to keeping this feature:
> >> - This feature is quite complex to support.
> >> - By having this feature both in the login screen and in the control
> >> center we are duplicating functionality but providing an inconsistent
> >> method of configuring it.
> >
> > why not drop it from the control center then ? keep the configuration
> > at the login screen and move langpack installation into software
> > center where it belongs ?
>
> Even if it was true that language pack installation "belongs" in USC
> (which it isn't), that would be irrelevant. Imagine a computer on which
> every language pack is installed. People would still need to switch from
> one language to another.
>
well, i could imagine a "languages" category in USC ... just seems
logical to me to put it there.

as i said above, switching from one lang to another (or even more
important switching to the appropriate kbd setup for that language)
could stay in the login manager.

> >> - Users can accidentally change it, giving an opportunity to make
> >> their session unusable.
> >
> > many users in the above listed environments wont be multilingual, how
> > would such a user be supposed to find out how to change the language
> > somewhere in the control center if he/she cant even read the text on
> > desktop elements ? such users would be provided with an unusable
> > session by default.
> >...
>
> That is a good point, but for the reasons mentioned above, they have
> that problem right now anyway. Putting System Settings in the launcher
> by default will help. Using a large icon layout (like System Settings
> does) instead of a menu with tiny icons (like the old Preferences menu)
> will help too. That reduces the problem to learning, or guessing, two
> large icons.
since we redesign the display manager UI from scratch, it shouldnt be a
problem to implement shiny big icon selection lists there either... with
all bells and whistles you can imagine and with extra points for
switching the UI language of the login manager itself on the fly at
selection time (we do it in other places alredy (like i.e. ubiquity
currently, or gdm a few releases ago before upstream dropped that
feature)) ...

my 75 year old mother doesnt know what "Username" or "Login" mean ...
she does understand what it means if its in a language she speaks
though.



ciao
oli


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Old 07-04-2011, 01:11 PM
Milan Bouchet-Valat
 
Default Language chooser at login

Le lundi 04 juillet 2011 à 11:11 +0100, Matthew Paul Thomas a écrit :
> Robert Ancell wrote on 04/07/11 03:44:
> >
> >> If you change the display language within a session, it does not take
> >> effect in that session, but only after you have logged out and
> >> logged in again. The language setting is one of the few things that
> >> works that way.
> >
> > Yes, it's an unfortunate limitation of the system we use.
>
> So far, this discussion seems to be assuming that that limitation is
> unfixable. Windows has the same limitation, but Mac OS X (except for the
> Finder) does not, and many multilingual Web sites do not either.
>
> So, what would it take to remove that limitation in Ubuntu? What would
> it take to switch languages on the fly?
Rewriting all programs and doubling the number of lines of codes needed
to write a GUI? ;-)

More seriously, the problem is that apps get translated by calling
gettext() on every English string, which returns the localized version.
If you want to change a language on the fly, without restarting apps,
you'd need to reload al of those strings in one way or another, which
means re-running all of the code (i.e. actually restarting the app), or
adding signals all over the place.

What could probably be fixed, though, would be to allow changing
language for the session, so that newly started apps use the new
language. But then you'd need a way for all session services (power
manager, network manager, desktop shell...) to restart, else they'll
keep using the old language. And that means you mostly restart the
session. (From what you say, I guess that's what OS X does.)

So the best solution would be to add a way to easily log out and in
again to apply language settings.


Cheers



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Old 07-05-2011, 03:06 AM
Robert Ancell
 
Default Language chooser at login

On 04/07/11 21:57, Marc Deslauriers wrote:
> On Mon, 2011-07-04 at 12:44 +1000, Robert Ancell wrote:
>> From what I've gathered talking to people the classes of user are:
>> 1. Users who set the system language at install/first boot time, and
>> never change it (the vast majority)
>> 2. English as a second language users, who switch between their native
>> language and English (this is a class of user I don't understand well).
>> I think the reason for this is because the translations are not always
>> good enough? Is this a power user feature?
>> 3. Testers/developers who want to easily change language for testing
>> (their requirements should not be exposed to normal users)
> There is also:
>
> 4. People who create accounts for additional users
>
> In that scenario the tools that create accounts need to be modified to
> have a place to set the user's language and keyboard.
The Oneiric Control Center allows the language to be set for a user when
they are created. There is not a setting for keyboard, however as a
computer has a single physical keyboard and the system layout will match
it this doesn't seem to be a big issue (i.e. if a user wants to use a
keyboard layout that does not match the keyboard they are probably
advanced, and can select it from the control center with the mouse only).
>
> This is a _legal_ issue in certain multilingual countries where it's
> unacceptable for a user to login to the wrong language and keyboard and
> try and find a control panel setting to change the default.
Could you elaborate on what this legal issue is? Note as above if the
system administrator has correctly setup a user their language will be
correct on login.

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Old 07-05-2011, 03:09 AM
Robert Ancell
 
Default Language chooser at login

On 04/07/11 20:11, Matthew Paul Thomas wrote:
> Robert Ancell wrote on 04/07/11 03:44:
>
> >> If you change the display language within a session, it does not take
> >> effect in that session, but only after you have logged out and
> >> logged in again. The language setting is one of the few things that
> >> works that way.
>
> > Yes, it's an unfortunate limitation of the system we use.
>
> So far, this discussion seems to be assuming that that limitation is
> unfixable. Windows has the same limitation, but Mac OS X (except for the
> Finder) does not, and many multilingual Web sites do not either.
>
> So, what would it take to remove that limitation in Ubuntu? What would
> it take to switch languages on the fly?

Definitely able to be improved on what we have currently, but not for
Oneiric.

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