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Old 08-24-2011, 02:59 PM
Sebastien Bacher
 
Default Language chooser at login (comment from an upset ubuntu user)

On mer., 2011-08-24 at 15:35 +0200, Hadmut Danisch wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I was testing oneiric alpha releases, found several problems with
> keyboard maps and locale settings, tried to report them as bugs, and
> ran against a wall of ignorance, probably errected by
> ubuntu/canonical.

Thank you for your interest but confrontational behaviour based on
subjective facts doesn't usually lead to useful discussions...

> obvious that this guy has an awful anglo-americo-centric view of the
> world, not knowing much about multilanguage environments, and
> rigorously enforces his wrong assumptions.

Could you read http://www.ubuntu.com/community/conduct those are not the
basis for a constructive discussion. Just for the record most of the
desktop team people are non english speakers and contributed to the
discussions


> 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?
>
> These are wrong assumptions. It shows that you do not really know much
> about language and locale settings. Maybe not the best base for such
> important design decisions.

Rather than saying they are wrong could you argument on why you think
they are wrong? When and why do you switch locales? It seems most non
english users just run using their own locale and doesn't switch over
what english user do.

> 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.
>
> Sorry to say that, but this is nonsense. This is the point of view of
> a one-languaged user, demanding the rest of the world to act exactly
> like him, who obviously has never changed between different
> languages.

Why do you need to switch languages? Don't you have a prefered one you
use most of the time?

>
> I'll explain just some of the reasons why language and keyboard
> options need to remain in the login screen:
>
> 1. It is wrong (and naive) to assume, that users once choose
> their „preferred language” and then never change it. The
> preferred language is not a static value. It depends on the
> context. E.g. when writing software, when communicating with
> english speaking users (like I am doing right now), when
> travelling or working in a country with english language, or
> when debugging software or reading manuals, a user might
> prefer the english language. There is almost no chance to
> google comments for bugs and errors if you enter the german,
> french, italian, chinese translation of error messages. If you
> work with a german locale, debugging is pointless in many
> cases, since you need the english messages.
>
> Furthermore and beyond computers, I sometimes change my
> prefered language.

What you suggest is that users need to change their "location" and
"default dictionnary" there, not the langage used for the ui of the
softwares. If you do like changing default languages every now and then
you can probably do it fine from the language selector, log out and log
in again, it's basically not harder than doing it on the login screen.

>
> 1. It is not just a matter of the personal language preferences.
> Many programs behave differently depending on the locale
> settings. E.g. you cannot use OpenOffice/LibreOffice with the
> wrong locale, because with english locale it does not show
> dates, currencies, numbers properly with the wrong locale. So
> if writing for german purposes I need a german locale. When
> writing for english purposes, I need the english locale.
>
> Same with spell checking.
>
> Assuming that a user once and finally chooses his prefered
> language is nonsense.

The text editor let you pick the format and dictionary. What you need
there is rather a way to start one application in a specific context.
But for what is worth lot of people write english text under a german
session, it's easy enough to switch dynamically keyboard layouts and
dictionaries.

> So these design decisions to remove all that options from the login
> screen are just wrong.

Your arguments explain why people need to change some of their settings,
not why that needs to happen on the login screen itself directly. Note
that GNOME dropped the language selector from gdm as well.





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Old 08-24-2011, 03:24 PM
Rick Spencer
 
Default Language chooser at login (comment from an upset ubuntu user)

On Wed, 2011-08-24 at 15:35 +0200, Hadmut Danisch wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I was testing oneiric alpha releases, found several problems with
> keyboard maps and locale settings, tried to report them as bugs, and
> ran against a wall of ignorance, probably errected by
> ubuntu/canonical. I then came to bug #803858 and to this mailing list
> discussion.
Hi Hadmut, thanks for testing oneiric and reporting bugs! I love being
in the Ubuntu community because I love getting to know and to work with
people from all different backgrounds from all over world, all
channeling positive energy to the same outcome.

>
> Reading this discussion really upsets me.
>

>
> Worst of all are the comments from Robert Ancell. It is more than
> obvious that this guy has an awful anglo-americo-centric view of the
> world, not knowing much about multilanguage environments, and
> rigorously enforces his wrong assumptions.
I could tell you were upset and I am sorry for that. This vexed me, as I
have known Robert for a while now, and I never found him to be arrogant.
As Director of Engineering, it pained me to think that a Canonical
employee, and one who I know trust so well, was behaving this way.

I took the time to read through the attached thread, and for what it's
worth, I didn't read Robert's behavior the way you did. I read it as the
developer who is responsible taking a good decision, doing the work, and
then supporting the work in the future, making an earnest effort to
understand the pros and cons and all the sides of the situation.

Maybe it's because I know Robert, and could hear his distinctly
Australian accent in my head as a read it, though.

Design discussions can be tough, and sometimes design decisions get
taken that not everyone can agree with. I don't know how the "language
selector in the greeter" discussion will end up, but I hope this
experience doesn't dissuade you from continuing to use and contribute to
Ubuntu. Heck, I think one of the beauties of LightDM is that it's easy
to make a greater, maybe you could make a special one specifically
designed for users like you and share it!

Cheers, Rick


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Old 08-24-2011, 04:32 PM
Hadmut Danisch
 
Default Language chooser at login (comment from an upset ubuntu user)

On 24.08.2011 16:59, Sebastien Bacher wrote:


Thank you for your interest but confrontational behaviour based on
subjective facts doesn't usually lead to useful discussions...




This is not about leading to useful discussions.



This is about leading to solving the problem.



Unfortunately, my experiences of the last years with ubuntu
maintainers teach that being confrontational has the highest
probability of getting a bug/problem fixed, while beeing friendly
usually results in beeing ignored - or beeing told that I have no
clue and that things should be as the maintainer arbitrarily
decided.



So beeing confrontational is simply a result of game theoretical
optimiziation. What does that tell about ubuntu maintainers?

















obvious that this guy has an awful anglo-americo-centric view of the
world, not knowing much about multilanguage environments, and
rigorously enforces his wrong assumptions.



Could you read http://www.ubuntu.com/community/conduct those are not the
basis for a constructive discussion. Just for the record most of the
desktop team people are non english speakers and contributed to the
discussions




Yep. But from what I read so far from this mailing discussion and a
bug discussion, most people involved were pleading for leaving the
options in the login screen. However, their way of beeing friendly
proved to be completely without success. What's the point in doing
it the same way?





On the other hand, Robert aggressively pushes assumptions in the
discussion without accepting any other opinions.





It has become a typical attitude of ubuntu maintainers that they
demand to be treated like princesses, while they themselves are
treating others rather harsh and aggressively. Most ubuntu
maintainers ignore the standards of behaviour and respect the way
they often treat bug reports.



I am under the strong impression that this permant demand for
decency and friendlyness is in fact an attempt to keep as much
critics as possible ignorable.





Being confrontative is a result of how ubuntu maintainers are
treating users these days. (And I am using Unix and open source for
more than 25 years, Linux and Debian from its very beginnings,
that's what I compare Ubuntu with.)












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?

These are wrong assumptions. It shows that you do not really know much
about language and locale settings. Maybe not the best base for such
important design decisions.



Rather than saying they are wrong could you argument on why you think
they are wrong? When and why do you switch locales? It seems most non
english users just run using their own locale and doesn't switch over
what english user do.




Sure I can (although you don't seem to expect Robert to tell why he
believes these assumptions are correct). I even thought I'd have
told that in the list of 11 points.





They are wrong in the sense, that they don't meet reality. (of
course, there are different perceptions of „wrong” , but I chose
that base on my experience).



I do switch locales quite often:




Sometimes I am tired of german localization, because german
translations are most often odd and in most cases incomplete.



ironically, oneiric itselfs warns the user when installing from
the alternate CD and choosing german, that this is not a good
idea, since it is incomplete.



With german error messages you are completely lost when trying
to report a bug or finding* a solution, since almost all
descriptions, workarounds, etc. tell the english error message.
So whenever trying to fix/report a bug, I always have to change
to the english locale.



German is a lengthy language. A german translation of an english
text is usually about 30-50% longer. This breaks some graphical
user interfaces. And it is rather difficult to use two programs
together, where one uses english and one german terms.



However, if you take the low level (windows-like) user into
consideration, who never ever reports or analyzes bugs, their
need to change to english locales is lower.




Some programs simply don't work correctly in german.



Not even apt-get install until recently. It usually asks "Do you
want to continue [Y/n]?", but in german "Möchten Sie fortfahren
[J/n]?", because Yes in german is Ja. But since only the
question, but not parsing the answer had been localized, many
programs simply don't work.



There are still programs, which cannot deal with file names
containing german (i.e. non-ASCII) characters or use the correct
character set (ISO-8859 or UTF). Since Ubuntu gives the default
directores (Desktop, Public) german names like Arbeitsfläche,
Öffentlich, plenty of trouble can be expected. Some programs do
not use these localized names and always expect directories like
~/Desktop. Furthermore, this makes it really difficult to
synchronize files between two computers standing in different
areas.



There is more trouble. Some shell scripts or other programs do
parse the output of other programs. Recently I had trouble
because a program was trying to parse the output of /bin/ls, but
failed, since the output differs under the german locale.



E.g. /bin/ls without or with us locale can output



drwxr-xr-x* 3 hadmut hadmut*** 4096 Jan* 2* 2011 Calendar



while the same with the german locale looks like



drwxr-xr-x* 3 hadmut hadmut*** 4096 2011-01-02 14:01 Calendar



The US time format is 3.00 pm, while it is 15:00 here, and the
us number 1,234.00 equals the german 1.234,00



Some things don't work with the english, others don't work with
the german locale.






I do not have a „constantly preferred language”. My language
is not like a gender which I usually do not change daily or
weekly.



Although german is my first language and my english is not as
good as it should be, I prefer to use english for all technical
matters. I sometimes travel around the world or are on business
trips, where I have to speak english. It is much easier to
remain english in this time than swapping between two languages,
e.g. talk english to people and use my laptop in german.
Therefore, I do quite often prefer english, especially when
doing technical work or travelling.




While I usually prefer english messages with german date and
time format (i.e. I do mix the locale components), I need to use
a german locale when giving support to german users, since they
do report their problems in german. On the other hand, when
reporting bugs upstream, I use the english locale, because I
need to see the english error messages (and check wether the
problem occurs in the german locale settings only, which happens
quite often).*




When using office programs (oowriter, oocalc) for german
applications, I urgently need german locales, since programs
like oocalc (open office spread sheet) simply does not display
dates, numbers, and currencies correctly without the german
locale.




I sometimes exchange data with or do remote management for
some older Unix machines, e.g. Debian, which do not yet use
UTF-8, but ISO-8859-1. In contrast to english, where all
characters are taken from the ASCII set, it makes a severe
difference in german, whether you have UTF or ISO-8859-1
character sets. I therefore do not only change between german
and english, but between ISO and UTF as well.













Why do you need to switch languages? Don't you have a prefered one you
use most of the time?




No. See above.



First of all, I do not have a prefered one.



Of course, my first language is german, and my german is much better
than my english. And "most of the time" I do speak(!) german.



But then, for technical matters and as a computer scientist, I do
prefer english for this sort of stuff, especially when cooperating
in an international environment. And for many applications, I do
prefer english output and error messages, simply because the german
translations are quite often odd, ridiculous, or simply wrong, at
least unusual. In many cases the english menus and terms are much
easier to understand. It is sometimes really difficult to find a
menu entry if you have to guess how a maintainer might have
translated this into german. German quite often gives more options
to name things than english. And when talking to english speaking
people, it is really difficult to translate this back. E.g. if an
ubuntu program gave a german error message which I then translate
back to english, it most probably does not match the original
english message.





Although I prefer a split locale with english messages and german
date, time, number formats „most of the time”, this does not mean
that I would not have to change this periodically.



Another problem is that I usually prefer the Gnome desktop, which is
getting worse. I then tried Ubuntu Unity, and on older machines use
XFCE. Then I use both the last LTS version and the current ubuntu
version. So I would have to remember about 5-6 different methods to
set the locale under these desktops? Horrible.







Your assumption that one has a preferred locale setting that he
(almost) always uses simply does not hold true.



Ironically, Ubuntu is far from beeing usable with the german locale
permanently, or with the us locale in Germany.









What you suggest is that users need to change their "location" and
"default dictionnary" there, not the langage used for the ui of the
softwares. If you do like changing default languages every now and then
you can probably do it fine from the language selector, log out and log
in again, it's basically not harder than doing it on the login screen.




It is much harder for four reasons:




The way of changing the locale in the Desktop changes too
often between ubuntu versions and desktops (e.g. ubuntu now
comes with unity, where it isn't trivial to just open a
terminal, if not being used to. Ubuntu expects users to move
from Gnome to Unity, but most settings are not possible under
unity, and then difficult to find. )




Using a desktop (even if just for changing the locale) can
become difficult if not impossible if the locale or the keyboard
setting is wrong. Setting these values after starting
the desktop is just illogical. In Germany we have lots of people
who do not speak english. How should these people find the
method to change the locale to german if everything is in
english?



The whole idea of setting the locale in the desktop is broken by
design.




Meanwhile desktops are so overloaded with crap that it takes
quite long to get them up.




What if the locale is wrong and keeps the Desktop from getting
up? deadlock...












The text editor let you pick the format and dictionary.



Oh yeah, let ubuntu maintainers do their weird ideas and burden the
users to deal with it...



As I said before, this does not always work. oocalc does not work
correclty if started with the wrong locale, whatever options you
pick.



The assumption is wrong that every program lets you pick the format,
dictionary,...












What you need
there is rather a way to start one application in a specific context.




Partly wrong. I need to start the Desktop in a context. And context
is the precise word describing that it must come from outside.







Your arguments explain why people need to change some of their settings,
not why that needs to happen on the login screen itself directly. Note
that GNOME dropped the language selector from gdm as well.





That's why they got a harsh bug report as well. Just because GNOME
dropped it, that does not make anything better. Wasn't it the reason
for ubuntu to change from Gnome to Unity because Gnome went the
wrong way?





And, btw., I explained this, one reason was the completeness to
cover all programs run under the session and not just those run
under the desktop. But cutting away my argument and then claiming I
would not explain is impertinent.







Let's come back to your argument of paying respect:



You've asked my for plenty of reasons and explanations.



On the other hand, I did not yet see any good argument for changing
this details (as I did not see any good reasons for most of the
changes of the last two ubuntu releases.)





What good reason is there to take the options away from the login
screen?



















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