Considerations about official localized editions of Live CDs

Aron Xu happyaron.xu at
Fri Dec 18 01:50:34 GMT 2009

After a talk on IRC with Arne, please see my opinions below:

On Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 10:12 AM, Arne Goetje <arne.goetje at> wrote:
> Tom Davies wrote:
>> Hi :)
>> I am not arguing against the idea. I think it is a very valid and
>> good point.
>> While there are some existing projects it would be great to see these
>> having more official support from the main Ubuntu website and places.
>> Perhaps those projects could have links back to Ubuntu's main site?
> Would need to ask the people in charge of the website if that is
> possible. But then you need to answer the question, where to draw the
> line. If you list "community editions" of Ubuntu on the main website,
> you would probably need to list every single community edition out there.
It is a difficult job to decide which edition to be listed and which
not to, but perhaps we can list only the distributions made/approved
by our Approved LoCo Teams, and set some other requirements about
quality and etc.

>> Where there are no existing projects perhaps there is just a need for
>> some people to volunteer their time to develop something. In linux
>> land it is very often your choice about which projects you develop
>> further.  Often if you put work into a project yourself you see
>> developments happening faster as a result. Putting in voluntary work
>> yourself and doing team-building, encouraging others to join in gets
>> a better result than just saying "We should have this or that".
>> However, perhaps there are even easier answers to this. 1. Perhaps
>> choosing a particular mirror would lead to appropriate languages
>> being included as defaults? 2. Perhaps the default language pack
> Nope, the image needs to be rebuild from scratch and that is not done on
> the mirrors.
>> could cut out 4 or 5 of the versions of english and instead have 4 or
>> 5 of the "most commonly spoken/written languages" such as Chinese
>> (because it is widely used) and Spanish because it is often quickly
>> completed. Having en-us, en-gb, en-aus all included in the default
>> language pack seems odd in many ways although i can see good
>> technical reason why it is set-up like that.
> Spanish is included in the default image. The technical reason to put
> all en- variants into one language-pack is, that all the en-variants are
> just diffs to en-us. Since we don't want to have a dedicated set of
> packages for each language variant, we include them all in one set
> (unless they get too big, like the Chinese ones (zh-hans vs zh-hant),
> which are not diffs to each other, but completely separated
> translations). A set currently consists of 6 language-pack packages.
> If you want to know more details about language-packs, just ping me, I'm
> maintaining them. :)
It is a good idea to integrate some most widely used languages in
current Live CD, some other OS vendors also do it, for example Windows
is providing Chinese (as well as a good Chinese input method) by
default to all installations. But image space is a vital point for us,
I don't know who can tell if such thing is possible.

>> The particular Chinese distro i was thinking of was
>> although a quick search showed
>> a dissappointingly few other linux distros which use Chinese by
>> default.  Usually DistrowWatch is good at including even tiny and
>> almost unknown distros but their Japanese coverage seems far better
>> than their Chinese coverage. Anyway this wasnt the main point about
>> what i was saying. Mainly i was saying YES, please can we develop
>> more official support or better clearer links from the Ubuntu site to
>> 'regionalised' variants of Ubuntu?

Well, there are many third party distro makers in China, many of those
people were making tweaks to Windows before they turn to Linux
"collectively". Nobody can trust them and even some of them are just
introducing some change that are not likely suitable, but many
starters are about to use those distros because they provide some
tweaks (like integrate language pack, input method by default
installation and don't need to download over 100MB to complete them)
and they thought it can help them "land" smoothly. I have tried to
persuade some of them to use the official edition, and telling them I
can do a first installation for them, they are back to their original
systems because they are not confident to Linux any more. You know not
all people like adventure.

Due to the historical reason, it is not easy for users to fully accept
the concept of "community" in a day, and there experience of Windows
(for most people) tell them not to use something unofficially
supported, unless you don't care or have to use them. Thus, a
community edition perhaps can hardly get a acknowledgement much more
than other third party editions, "it is just another customized
edition made by those guys who call it local community". The situation
is caused by misunderstanding that LoCo are trying hard to solve, but
the progress can't make sense in a second.

You may need to know that most of Chinese are using Windows from the
very beginning of recognizing a computer because the education system
have chosen Microsoft to its partner. So the situation of promoting
Linux is difficult when we cannot provide some basic needs that have
been "thought a lot of", such as localization from the beginning, good
input method support. Ibus input engine is included in Ubuntu LiveCD
which we are very happy to see, but as I've stated in my first mail,
it is not enough though, anyway it's a big progress.

> @Aron:
> While it is not particularly difficult to replace the language-packs on
> the Live CD with other ones (I did it myself for zh_TW for Hardy), those
> images cannot be called "official" for various reasons. AFAIK those
> images need to be called "Community Edition", and if you print CD covers
> for them, this also needs to be clearly stated. You can probably find
> more information on this on the Canonical website in the Legal section.
> I'm not speaking for the company here, but you need to keep in mind that
> Canonical, as the main sponsor of Ubuntu, provides commercial support
> for the "official" Ubuntu release. However, we cannot provide this
> support for the localised Ubuntu editions for various reasons, the most
> significant I can think of is the lack of human resources.
> The idea of localised Ubuntu images is not new, some have even suggested
> that we build and host them all on the main server. This however is not
> feasible, since each image needs to be thoroughly tested before it can
> be released and those images use a significant amount of space, both on
> the disk, and on the bandwidth when mirroring to other servers. Think
> about the time it takes to build and test each image in each flavour and
> the amount of data, the mirrors would need to pull. Simply not possible.
> That said, you are free to build customised images and to distribute
> them on your own, but you would create a derivative of Ubuntu and thus
> would be solely responsible for it and for the support.
> Cheers
> Arne
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