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Steve Langasek 03-02-2009 11:24 AM

i18n support as a requirement for user-visible applications in Ubuntu (was Wubi status)
 
On Mon, Mar 02, 2009 at 11:29:47AM +0000, Evan Dandrea wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 11:03 AM, Colin Watson <cjwatson@ubuntu.com> wrote:
> > On Mon, Mar 02, 2009 at 10:42:53AM +0000, Evan Dandrea wrote:
> >> I'm not sure how official this is, it does not appear to be in the
> >> Ubuntu Policy package (Colin, should it be? *Shall I file a bug?),

> > I don't see how we can realistically make it a requirement for
> > everything, much though we might like to. There is lots of free software
> > out there that is useful without being sanely translatable at one level
> > or another (for example, Subversion sends messages over the network that
> > are displayed to its users but were not translatable for a long time,
> > and adding this was a Hard Upstream Problem).

> > I wouldn't object to it being required for new user-visible elements of
> > the standard Ubuntu desktop, or other things at a similar level. This
> > should be discussed on ubuntu-devel, though.

> I'd like to start a discussion around the topic of making i18n support
> a requirement for user-visible elements of the standard Ubuntu
> desktop, as Colin mentions. This was apparently discussed at UDS, but
> I cannot find anything authoritative on the subject by searching
> through the wiki and Ubuntu policy documents. If we really are going
> to do this, can we please codify it somewhere?

> Personally, I think it should only be a requirement at a date before
> UI Freeze that gives translators enough time to look over the new
> strings. I don't see the need for the requirement being set for
> applications entering the archive regardless of where we are in the
> release schedule. It may not always be advantageous to spend time on
> getting translation support right over other areas of application
> development, so we should not go further than we have to in order to
> accomplish having translated software in the final release.

I think it's reasonable to allow initial uploads of software without i18n
support even if we want a policy of not releasing with new user-visible
elements that can't be translated. But in that case we need to be confident
that resources are available to get us the i18n support before we hit UI
freeze; we don't want to be stuck having to pull whole packages out of the
UI at that late state because we've failed the i18n requirements.

As an aside, I suspect it's generally easier to implement i18n support when
you're writing a program than to add i18n support after the fact, because
strings that are shown in the UI have to be marked in the source and there's
no reliable way to do this automatically (if there were, we wouldn't need
them marked...).

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Steve Langasek Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com vorlon@debian.org

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Alexander Sack 03-02-2009 12:06 PM

i18n support as a requirement for user-visible applications in Ubuntu (was Wubi status)
 
On Mon, Mar 02, 2009 at 11:29:47AM +0000, Evan Dandrea wrote:
> I'm moving this to ubuntu-devel so we can have a full discussion.
>
> To add necessary context, I originally said the following:
>
> I'm not sure how official this is, it does not appear to be in the
> Ubuntu Policy package (Colin, should it be? Shall I file a bug?), but
> you'll want to make proper gettext support a very high priority, given
> that Lars and myself took a lot of heat from the community for
> uploading system-cleaner and usb-creator without i18n support
> initially.
>
> This blog post [1] implies that this was being considered as a
> requirement for new software, but as mentioned I cannot find official
> record of it, so I'm assuming that hasn't happened yet.

IMO, using gettext should be easy enough to add to everything
that claims to be beyond a prototyping state; doesn't sound too picky
for me to add that as a general NEW requirement.

- Alexander


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Martin Pitt 03-02-2009 02:41 PM

i18n support as a requirement for user-visible applications in Ubuntu (was Wubi status)
 
Siegfried Gevatter (RainCT) [2009-03-02 15:49 +0100]:
> I'd rather make it a requirement for inclusion into main (although
> that'll only work until Archive Reorganization...), but only a
> recommendation ("should") for new packages.

It is already: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuMainInclusionRequirements
point 5.

FWIW, I think asking upstream authors to i18n their software is a very
good idea, but I don't personally consider it a reason for rejecting a
package from universe.

Even for main we are generally concerned about real "desktop" strings;
error messages from subversion or gcc [1] don't really fall into that
category, and I'm not too concerned about those text-mode developer
tools.

Martin

[1] I know that gcc has translated error messages; some people even
regard that as a bug :)

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