i18n support as a requirement for user-visible applications in Ubuntu (was Re: Wubi status)

Evan Dandrea evand at ubuntu.com
Mon Mar 2 11:29:47 GMT 2009

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

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.



1: http://adi.roiban.ro/2008/12/13/i18n-blocker-policy-in-ubuntu/

On Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 11:03 AM, Colin Watson <cjwatson at 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.


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