Translating a rolling release

Redmar redmar at
Sat Mar 16 12:28:08 UTC 2013

Hello Translators,

As some of you may be aware, there has been some talk in the community
about changing ubuntu's well known six month release schedule, and
switching to a rolling release model. This would mean that new versions
of programs will arrive in ubuntu when they are deemed ready, rather
than on a six month cycle. The LTS (Long Term Support) releases would
continue to exist in their current form. You can read more about the
proposal here [1]. 

Since switching to a rolling release will clearly have an impact on our
work, so I was wondering how other translators feel about this proposed
change. After we have discussed this, I will create summary of the
points raised here, so that our position on this proposal is clear for
the wider community. 

On the positive side, translation effort does not have to be condensed
into a short window between UI Freeze an the TranslationsDeadline, which
should give us all more time to complete translations. Also, if programs
are updated more frequently, the amount of new strings in each release
will also be smaller, which again makes translating easier.

If updates are more frequent, this could also remove the need for
langpack updates, which have been lacking of late anyway.

The main negative side is the risk of regressions in translation of
programs. If the new version of a program is released before translators
have had time to update all translations, users will be faced with a
program that is suddenly only partly translated. This is a serious
usability problem with the Dash and HUD, since these are text-based
tools. For example, I'm currently running the Dutch beta of 13.04, and
many of the search terms I use to start programs (Dash) or interact with
program menus (HUD) do not work, since the translations are not
completed yet. If we switch to a rolling release, each new version of a
program has a chance of breaking the users workflow by removing
localised terms the user relied on for the Dash or HUD. Clearly, this
would not be acceptable.

Tools needed: There would have to be some way that translators get
notified when the new version of a program is about to land. I'm
guessing this is not a difficult thing to accomplish, and could be as
simple as sending an automatic message to the ubuntu-translators list
when a new version of a program enters the 'proposed' repository.

Those are my thoughts on the subject, what do you think? 


Ubuntu Dutch Translators


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