Ubuntu and language packs

Surfaz Gemon Meme surfaz28 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 5 19:57:08 UTC 2009

2009/2/5 Loïc Martin <loic.martin3 at gmail.com>:
> Surfaz Gemon Meme wrote:
>> Firts, I don't understand why "language-support-translations-XX"
>> install a package(s) "thunderbird-locale-xx-XX" when Ubuntu don't
>> install thunderbird mail client by default...  Ubuntu uses evolution
>> as mail client, non?
> It's due to the way translations are handled in Ubuntu (and probably
> other distributions). For packages in main repositories, all program
> translations for one language are grouped in a single support package,
> which makes it easier to update translation (since the strings are
> usually translated after a program hits the repositories, else we'd be
> still waiting for two years ago programs to be 100% translated in all
> languages). It also allow fixing a lot of translations without you
> having to re-download hundreds of megabytes of programs each time you
> language goes from 91% of string translated to 92%, you just download an
> updated language pack.

Ok, thanks for your answer

>> Second, I don't understan why Ubuntu keep installed English support
>> packages when I chose other language.
> I don't have a definite 100% answer, and indeed there might be room for
> improvment, like some of the particular English a non-english speaker
> wouldn't need. As for not having _any_ English support, in your case
> you'd vouch for it because it would save you a few megabytes, but not
> everybody is like you, and even non-fluent English person (or person
> that don't speak English at all) might appreciate being able to consult
> the original strings/help files in case of a) bad or innacurate
> translation b) missing translation, or parts missing c) the need to
> report error messages in English or communicate with people that also
> use English as a common vessel. Being able to LANG=en_US my_program can
> be invaluable.

a) Launchpad -> search programa -> go to Translations or in a program,
 About -> Translate this program

b) When a translation is not complete (in gettext system), shows the
original language of the program. Which is almost always English.

c) I do not believe that a user change the language to English to
report an error. Moreover, I not believe that they know as do since
they have installed Ubuntu in language chose in installation process.

If they know English, do not need English support of Ubuntu.
If they do not know English, I do not think the English support of
Ubuntu could change something.

>From my point of view, these packages are not used for non-English
users.  Moreover, I think that most of them don't know even that these
packages are installed.

>> Why a Ubuntu user from Argentina, France or any other no-English
>> country will want to have these packages installed by default?
> For the reason I explained above, and probably lots more. Also, if we
> want to understand people questions, bug reports, and if we want not to
> force people to remain helpless in front of their bugs, providing the
> English as a base is not necessarily the worst tradeoff considering the
> size of hard drives.

Said before:

If they know English, do not need English support of Ubuntu.
If they do not know English, I do not think the English support of
Ubuntu could change something.

> Even SSD on netbook are now =>4GB (with 16 or 32GB)
> which makes saving a few megas (even if it were really 130MB) not so
> common (that's like 2 CD of music ripped in a bad quality)

If not misunderstood, you said that because the hard drives of today
are very large there are no problems installing unnecessary stuff.. Do
you follow the policy of wasting space? Sorry, but I don't.

Moreover, I think that if don't install this packages by default this
improve in speed of installation process. (And here I'm talking also
for other lang-packs)

> Ubuntu provides programs that the majority of users would never use
> *COUGH* Evolution *COUGH* but would still be enough a pain to a decent
> minority of persons  that it makes sense incuding them on a _default_
> install. The 0.5% of people that would really appreciate to save a few
> megas here and there can uninstall the packages on a cherry pick basis,
> be it drivers for a graphic cards they don't use, sane/xsane if they
> never plan to have a scanner, games if they don't plan to use them, and
> so on. Or just start with the minimal install, pick only what they need
> (you'll save so much compared to the 130MB it's not even funny).

I'm not talking about programs or drivers, I'm talking about translations.

2009/2/5 Siegfried-Angel <siggi.gevatter at gmail.com>:
> About English being installed by default, I am not sure but aren't the
> strings in the original language already available in the binary files
> themselves (eg, isn't it those which you see when using LANG=C)?

An example of a po file:

#: src/audacious/signals.c:289
msgid ""
"Your signaling implementation is broken.\n"
"Expect unusable crash reports.\n"
msgstr ""

#: src/audacious/strings.c:192
msgid "  (invalid UTF-8)"
msgstr "  (UTF-8 inválido)"

#: src/audacious/ui_about.c:125
#: src/audacious/ui_credits.c:367
#: src/audacious/ui_manager.c:391
#: src/audacious/ui_manager.c:392
msgid "About Audacious"
msgstr "Acerca de Audacious"

I'm not an expert, but I think that when I compile a po file, this
string untranslated:

#: src/audacious/signals.c:289
msgid ""
"Your signaling implementation is broken.\n"
"Expect unusable crash reports.\n"
msgstr ""

will show

"Your signaling implementation is broken.\n"
"Expect unusable crash reports.\n"

(whitout " and \n )
If there is a problem in translation does not help that I have English
support. The best way (and most used) is to go to the website of the
program (for search po file in source code) or go to bugtracker (here

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