Considerations about official localized editions of Live CDs

Zhengpeng Hou zhengpeng.hou at
Wed Dec 16 15:13:48 GMT 2009


On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 10:55 PM, Tom Davies <tomdavies04 at> wrote:
> Hi :)
> Many governments already produce their own linux version for their people to
> use. In many cases governments even employ people to help with such
> developments. Often Ubuntu is the chosen linux distro to work from but some
> countries choose other versions of linux, China and Turkey famously
> developed their own from scratch.
Actually, there have two local distro left in China, which are getting
funding from gov, all are based on
fedora or saying rpm based.
> Perhaps we just need to support advertising or promoting the Ubuntu versions
> where they are not widely known? Perhaps we could get links to their sites
> from the main Ubuntu homepage?
I think the download speed is a matter for many end users, for those
newbies, the incomplete language is
not a good experience, my daily job need communicate with those kind
of users, and they always compain
this to me. :) Imagine, you're demonstrating a live system to a guy
who want give it a try, and he find everything
is so smooth(here I mean localization), then what dose he feel?
> DistroWatch is an excellent place to look-up these different versions as it
> puts a lot of work into keeping their data up-to-date, man other sites look
> better but fail to be so up-to-date and comprehensive
> From their front page for today i got to these 2 new releases earlier this
> week ...
> As another example a quick search for "Spain" on  their site, using their
> search feature gave these results
> Also scroll down their Ubuntu page to their "Related Web Sites" in the table
> there
> Perhaps this would be useful to link to from the main Ubuntu homepage?
> In Community Documentation there are instructions for anyone wanting to
> create their own Customised Cd although i think it needs translating into
> human languages as even my own edits of it are almost completely
> incomprehensible techno-babble

> I hope something here helps?
> Good luck and many regards from
> Tom :)

> ________________________________
> From: "happyaron.xu at" <happyaron.xu at>
> To: ubuntu-devel at
> Cc: ubuntu-translators at; loco-contacts at
> Sent: Wed, 16 December, 2009 6:31:56
> Subject: Considerations about official localized editions of Live CDs
> Hi everyone,
> It is a proven fact that Ubuntu, the Linux for Human Beings, is a great
> GNU/Linux distribution, which enables more and more people all over the
> world enjoy free software, share their knowledge and joys.
> Being an user of Ubuntu, I must say all the work done by the community and
> Canonical is awesome; but as a contributor from a not English spoken
> country, I would be extremely happy to see we can launch localized edition
> Live CDs, in other words language specific edition Live CDs for users that
> have different languages and preferences.
> For different languages there always be different cultures, and this caused
> to different user preferences. There are many people don't have enough
> knowledge about English to use a not localized computer in this world. A
> user of this kind will find it essential to download and install many thing
> to complete their language support when they installed Ubuntu from our Live
> CD in the past and at present. Most of these users have some common usage of
> software, so install these "language preferred" software is another required
> task before the system is usable. Do you think such a thing is very
> annoying? Yes, users would be much happier when they find an operating
> system designed to be very considerate.
> We have spent lots of man power on improving the process of installation
> including language support, and a GNU/Linux distribution always ships not
> only a system but also a set of selected applications, but I think things
> are still not perfect for us. Microsoft and Apple make their operating
> systems have different language's editions, and as a non-native English
> speaker, I 'd like to say it worth. Users prefer to have a fully localized
> environment in every corner they can see from the very beginning. But for
> Ubuntu we can only add translations of software that used during
> installation. The live session is an exciting feature, but I always here
> somebody ask "why are those all in English?""is there a fully translated
> Ubuntu available?" I've explained our current situation times by times, and
> these people always return to say "Ubuntu  is great, but if there is a fully
> translated one, things will be even better." The way to solve such problem,
> is having a language specific edition.
> So there are teams and individuals appear to make their distributions based
> on Ubuntu, or we are regarding them as Ubuntu Derivatives. The existence of
> these derivatives help us spread our distribution in the positive side, but
> there are really negative side, it's not just a problem on user choice, like
> between Fedora and Ubuntu, but something influence our build of community.
> Those derivatives always not only ship language packs but also some small
> tweaks for specific user groups  (not like Mint, which makes some bigger
> differences). Due to many reasons, there always be breakages and bugs that
> never existed in official Live CD. Users have to choose a provider that he
> or she can trust when they are about to turn to Ubuntu but can hardly accept
> to start from a global edition Live CD with minor support of his or her
> language. But who can make sure the quality of these derivatives? Perhaps
> nobody can tell. For the derivatives provided by non-profit organizations,
> situations are better than those profit-driven teams. I know some editions
> have changes that bring security holes, ship Ads (e.g. hard change on
> Firefox home page which point to a site full of Ads), and of course some of
> them refused to open there changes. Yes, users are able to drop those
> unwilling changes, but why he or she tries a derivative if they like to deal
> with such issues? We may still say it doesn't matter a lot up to here. Then,
> most of those derivative's authors don't supply support even though some of
> them have make changes and cause problems, and even some of them push the
> support work to local community deliberately. Apart from general questions,
> these users always ask about problems caused by derivative's changes. It is
> an annoying and overwhelming job to answer, even just tell them "to use the
> official one" can be an awful thing that few people like to do. This lead to
> discount to our community, and those users may think Ubuntu and our
> community are not friendly because most of them don't know the real
> situation exactly.
> Making official localized Live CDs can also lead to a new stage of Live CD
> usage. A Live CD can be used as a demo, a rescue system, or even a temporary
> working environment, the live session is a feature that many users like very
> much. As mentioned before, a not English spoken user can find some very
> limited support in the current Live CD. We need to admit it can hardly be
> used to do anything other than run a installation. Even for a demo purpose,
> other will always ask about the nearly all English environment. I've said in
> the beginning of this piece, users prefer to seeing that every corner he or
> she can reach is localized. To achieve a better usage of Live CD, a full
> localization is critical for these users. As for languages that need input
> method to input characters, for instance CJK languages (Chinese, Japanese
> and Korean), without a full featured input method, their usage of Live CD
> can be even more limited. It is really hard to input these complex scripts,
> though we have ibus with general m17n support by default, but you can only
> type characters one by one, such thing look very ridiculous for nowadays
> input method development and usage. When you cannot input a sentence, how
> can you make it even if you just want to search the web for some articles
> via live session?
> Apart from the meanings of official localized Live CDs above, users can save
> time on downloading and installing language support and perhaps other common
> software using a localized Live CD. For example, to complete a basic
> language support of Chinese needs around 100MiB to be downloaded, such a
> size only count in the language packs and input method without pulling in
> any other common software like StarDict to land on the system. With a
> localized Live CD, users can have a usable environment to be installed when
> they can't access a fast Internet connection, or even without a connection,
> such feature is obviously welcomed by many users who have desired it for
> long. With a fully localized environment, we can simplify user's
> configuration process, and make it really almost ready-to-use once
> installed.
> Making the localized Live CDs don't need any changes on our most
> infrastructures, it is just a matter of default selection of software in the
> CD. This will cause some more work for CD image team, translation
> exportation and our ISO building facilities, but I think it worth it. The
> intention of default package sets and some QA work can be done by the LoCo
> teams.
> We can't provide Live CDs for all languages, especially at the very
> beginning, but starting with having a try for some languages that have
> special need of care and a big amount of potential users is worthwhile. We
> can accumulate experience and make the process better. Windows and Macs can
> have language specific editions, why we can't?
> Providing official localized editions can be a big step forward on spreading
> Ubuntu and free software to the world. The progress of making it out is
> another try on the cooperation of development community and local
> communities. Ubuntu is Linux for Human Beings, I think such an action is
> really to that point, which will benefit a lot of users throughout the
> world.
> Best regards,
> Aron Xu
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> ubuntu-translators mailing list
> ubuntu-translators at

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