State of desktop file translations

Felix Geyer debfx at
Sun Sep 11 21:46:15 UTC 2011

Hey all,

First a bit of background:

In Kubuntu we strip the translations from .desktop files of all KDE packages
in main and add a reference to a gettext domain.
This domain is used at runtime to look up the translations.

The upstream translations are imported into Launchpad through the
kde-l10n-* packages and then exported to language packs.

There are a number of problems with that approach:

Previously the gettext domain was always desktop_<source package name>.
This changed with KDE 4.7 for all KDE SC packages that have been
(partly) split. This means that we don't have upstream translations for
any of these desktop files.

In some desktop files there are strings that have a special gettext domain
(indicated by a comment in the file) which we don't parse. This again leads
to untranslated strings.

We throw away upstream translations of many non-KDE SC packages
because those are not imported through kde-l10n-*. We do import some of them
but it's a manual list which no one really maintains.

Some of the problems have existed before this cycle but the KDE 4.7 issue is a
big regression in oneiric which we need to fix ASAP.

There are two options:
1) Disable desktop file stripping completely and rebuild the packages.
2) Manually set the gettext domain in each of the KDE SC packages.

In my opinion desktop file stripping has never worked properly and no one seems
to be willing to maintain it.
Therefore I propose that we carry out option 1). I think the regression potential is fairly
low since in-file translations are commonly used (all universe packages).

What are your opinions?


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