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Are you saying that distros do not add any localization support to other languages and that the programs are responsible for that? If that is the case, what is the first step that I need to do to get the localization changed?
Well, for one part the programs do have to support internationalisation. Then they can be localised, which is a bit more than just translating them. It includes converting currencies, date formats and many other things that are sometimes burried deep within the source code.
Next step: The locales have to be turned on. There are more than six environment variables in a modern linux system to be set in order to get the right language in X and the console, and there are programs that have still to be set up for that language individually just because they ignore some or all of the environment variables. Examples are typically "portable" programs that run under various operating systems, like OpenOffice.org.
And finally there are still many programs that just haven't been localised by their creators.
That is when distributors enter the stage. One of the main reasons (among many others) why SuSE is so popular in the German speaking countries is their excellent localisation. The put together useful stuff (set up a distribution) and make it easily accessible for their users. Eg, long before OpenOffice.org had its inbuilt solution within the standard package, SuSE included a workaround. And they went one step beyond: Having a solution for typing the EURO symbol in a window and displaying it is only half a solution. In the end you want to print it, right? So SuSE worked closely with the CUPS developers and printer manufacturers like Kyocera to create a real useful end-to-end solution. The PPD files for Kyocera at LinuxPrinting.org are the result of two companies listening to and working together to the benefit of their common customers.
So it is correct what has been said here, but there's much more to it. BTW, SuSE is completely Unicode, whild Slackware is ISO-885x based. Now, if a program expects to be run in an ISO-885x environment, you will see strange characters on the screen when you run it on a Unicode system, and vice versa. This is despite the fact that ISO-885x is regarded a "subset" of Unicode.
As you can see, character encoding is a vital part of localisation, too. Believe me, internationalisation and localisation are very hard work, sometimes much harder than programming.
And that is why I dare to praise SuSE even on a Slackware forum. Because there are reasons why I run both distributions, and no others (maybe a ROCK instance will come up soon, though).
Thank you so much gargamel.
I have installed SuSE 10.0 few days ago. To tell you the truth, SuSE and Slackware are the only two distributions that I cannot live without. I tried many other distributions but I always return back to SuSE and Slackware