Suggestion: Faster lanugage pack update after final release

David Planella david.planella at
Wed Aug 25 18:49:59 BST 2010

El dj 19 de 08 de 2010 a les 21:13 +0200, en/na Ask Hjorth Larsen va
> Hi David and Andrej

Hey :), and sorry for the delay in replying

> We had the same issue as Andrej - after the release, multiple errors
> were spotted in a short amount of time, a few of which were really
> annoying.  A language pack upgrade after 2-3 weeks would be ideal,

Yeah, we can do that, it's just a matter of having a calendar in place
and take care of scheduling it.

>  and
> I also think that 'automatic' (from our point of view :)) upgrades
> every so often (1-2 months) would be a good thing if possible.

Ideally, I would also like to see automatic uploads of language packs,
just in the same way we do already during the development cycle. But
from a QA point of view, until there is an automated way of also testing
those translations, that is not likely to happen.

> Is there any particular reason not to provide lots of updates to
> language packs? (Can things easily go wrong?)

Things can go wrong. Mistakes in translations can cause application
crashes, which are pretty severe issues from a user standpoint.

The majority of typos are caught upon input at the Launchpad level,
where error checking is performed internally using the standard gettext
tools, but there are sometimes subtle mistakes (often associated with
substitution variables in translatable strings) which for one reason or
the other cannot be caught, which can easily lead to a crash.

Ubuntu has grown to a huge user base, and they understandably expect
smooth updates with no regressions. That's why we have a strict stable
releases policy, where you can read the background in more detail:

The point that translation mistakes do not happen that often is in my
opinion a slightly flawed reason to automatically push updates, as there
is a founded risk for potential bugs.

I know that testers cannot do a 100% test coverage, but I believe it is
a good compromise to let them provide a sign off acknowledging that
they've done some minimal testing. The simple procedure outlined on the
language pack updates QA makes sure that if a language pack has been
tested, users can be sure that they can at least boot and have the
system in a state where they can at least send e-mail and report bugs:

That gives us:

      * Some minimum testing
      * A point of contact to talk to if things go wrong

Now, we've talked about this in several UDS editions, and I can see that
the procedure needs improvement, but so far no one has had the time to
work on this. Given the current infrastructure and testing methods, I
can see two actions that might need work:

      * Creation of a language pack release schedule, taking into
        account frequency of updates for stable, development and LTS
      * Drafting of a procedure in which translation teams can request
        occasional updates outside the regular update window

Would anyone want to help on this? Any feedback would be great.

I hope this clarifies things, looking forward to more feedback!


David Planella
Ubuntu Translations Coordinator / /
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