Considerations about official localized editions of Live CDs

Aron Xu happyaron.xu at
Thu Dec 17 03:30:53 GMT 2009

Hi Savvas,

I know there are DVDs that contains various languages, but do you
think downloading several GBs for installing a not-too-big system is a
waste of resource? Still, if we use Live DVD for system rescue
purpose, the situation is hard to imagine, :P So I still prefer to
have a localized CD, and better being released officially.

Aron Xu

On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 11:43 PM, Savvas Radevic <vicedar at> wrote:
> Aron, have you tried the DVD iso?
> It contains the packages of localized versions of Ubuntu for all languages.
> Maybe this is what you need. :)
> 2009/12/16 Aron Xu <happyaron.xu at>
>> Thanks Tom, but I think your suggestion isn't very to the point perhaps.
>> I want to talk about *official* localized CDs rather than customized
>> versions either done by local governments or other teams and individuals,
>> and my concerns have been stated in the initial mail. We have many editions
>> that aren't officially approved by our community, and some of them are in
>> Distrowatch's list,but that's really not enough. Most of them is just like
>> your company makes a tweaked version and only be trusted by a small amount
>> of people, and only an official one can be reliable enough to most people
>> desiring to have a fully localized environment at the very beginning of
>> their experience.
>> Can you imagine if Microsoft doesn't provide a localized version of
>> Windows for your language, what will their customers do? Ubuntu is free
>> software and the situation can be better in some possibilities, but
>> providing the localized editions is a big step forward in our progress,
>> which I've mentioned at the first thread.
>> To ubuntu-devel subscribers, my first mail was posted to ubuntu-devel but
>> not approved till this message being composed, please have a look at
>> Zhengpeng Hou's mail, which included all my message in a reply.
>> Regards,
>> Aron Xu
>> 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.
>>> 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?
>>> 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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