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Didier Spaier 10-30-2012 06:18 PM

The Slackware Internationalization Project
 
Hi all,

I wish all users be able to install and use Slackware in their native languages.

I believe that could help in expanding Slackware's user base, as do the Slackware Documentation Project

Some people did try to translate Slackware in their native language already.

But in my opinion it would be better not to build a Babel tower again.

In other words I would prefer to have one Slackware usable everywhere than derivatives or versions specifics to one country or language.

That would mean three steps:
(A) Internationalize (part of) Slackware, at least the installer, that is to say modify it in such a way that all the texts it displays could easily be translated in several languages (localized).
(B) Localize it in as many languages as teams of volunteers to do that will appear.
(C) Provide maintenance to follow any changes in Slackware.

For this to succeed, I think following requirements should be set up and (hopefully) met.

(1) The project should be acceptable by Patrick J. Volkerding and if possible by other authors or maintainers of tools written specifically for Slackware. This will require at least that:
(a) It will not require from PV an amount of additional work that he {c,w}ouldn't accept.
(b) We can credibly guarantee that the internationalization then localization do not introduce bugs and do not result in any significant inconvenience for present users, in other words that the level of quality and stability provided by Slackware will not decrease as a consequence of the project.

(2) The ultimate scope of the project will be: "everything specific to Slackware and visible by an end-user". For instance this would include what the user sees on the screen at time of installation or using Slackware tools afterwards, but probably not comments in Slackware scripts. This scope will have to be be filled progressively, so steps and milestones will have to be set up.

(3) Internationalization of (parts of) the scope should be completed before any localization effort in the same (part of the) scope begins.

(4) Internationalization & Localization of upstream software not specific to Slackware will not be included in the scope, in the spirit of shipping as less modified software as possible, in Slackware's tradition. This do not preclude an effort to provide users help and guidance to find, install and configure anything that could help them use their preferred language in as many applications as possible.

(5) The work to be done will be organized, coordinated, allocated and verified in such a way that previous requirements be fulfilled, whilst encouraging people to participate. In particular specific knowledge or know-how will be required depending on the kind of task to be performed and progress tracking in both internationalization and localization will be provided.

Internationalizing then localizing software is not new. There are existing tools to help us doing that, for instance 'gettext', 'poedit" and 'lokalize' already included in Slackware, which can be used to internationalize and localize shell scripts.

And we can benefit or experience of others, for instance about setting up an organization and associated processes and teams, defining the roles and responsibilities.

So are we ready to launch the Slackware Internationalization Project?

If I get enough positive feedback I will first set up a mailing list and maybe other tools so we can share ideas and experiences.

I already began to study the feasibility of internationalizing then localizing the installer, the goal being to have something practical and constructive to propose.

I am eager to hear from all interested Slackers.

PS To help clarify a bit the vocabulary and illustrate the process of internationalization then localization I wrote a small demo.
To run it, download in your home directory following files:
example.sh
example.po
Just read example.sh and run the demo typing 'sh example.sh'.

guanx 10-30-2012 07:20 PM

I guess most of the work would be for the installer. That's not diffifult for latin languages. But CJK display may need a graphical screen which greatly breaks the installer's simplicity.

And I hope some of the things such as package descriptions can stay unchanged and leave /var/log/packages/* are simple text files.

ReaperX7 10-30-2012 09:57 PM

Remember that you adhere to all laws for each country respectfully and do adequate research beforehand prior to release as to what can and can not be included. Best to be safe than sorry.

T3slider 10-30-2012 10:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ReaperX7 (Post 4818621)
Remember that you adhere to all laws for each country respectfully and do adequate research beforehand prior to release as to what can and can not be included. Best to be safe than sorry.

Language localization has literally nothing to do with the law in any way, shape or form. Distribution of Slackware may vary legally depending on the country (and whether or not the full distribution is included or pruned), but this project is for localization of the existing distro and talk of legality is totally irrelevant. Adding multiple language support to the installer and relevant scripts should not infringe any law anywhere. I suppose if a multi-language fork of Slackware is maintained then distributing it in certain countries may be illegal, but providing that the mirrors are hosted in the US or another country where Slackware is legal in the first place, nothing further is required.

ReaperX7 10-30-2012 10:33 PM

If you start with Latin based languages you'll nail down many of them fairly quickly.

kikinovak 10-31-2012 02:37 AM

Seeing the Slackware installer display its messages in another language than english would be as shocking an experience to me as hearing my cat starting to talk to me. :D

But seriously. Yeah, it's a great idea. Though I think - judging from the folks I know - that most Slackers don't care. (I may be completely wrong on that, though.) I'm currently teaching a class of ten french sysadmins in a company in Montpellier, and we're working eight hours a day on Slackware 14.0. Their english is far from perfect, but they don't seem to mind.

A good idea - completely independent from translating the installer - would be to add pages like these to the Documentation Project:

http://wiki.slackware-fr.org/install...s:francisation

Cheers,

Niki

Totoro-kun 10-31-2012 03:09 AM

Wow, this is great plan, would be interesting to see Slackware installer communicate in many languages. However, I must agree with what kikinovak said. It's same here, even if people have the ability to use Lithuanian as an interface language - they often chose not to, most of the times because of poor Lithuanian computer terms.Then again, like cats, internationalization project does not have to be very useful, to be interesting ;) So I would help with translation into Lithuanian and maybe with other parts if my competence will allow.

sahko 10-31-2012 06:42 PM

Good luck with this plan, but you'd have to change many parts of Slackware to achieve that.
For example man(1) doesnt even support utf8.
You'd have to switch to man-db.

alekow 11-01-2012 10:55 AM

When I started to read Didiers post I thought like: what for? What would I need that for? But after a little bit of thinking it's a very good idea! I don't need it, but maybe it could help in expanding user base?

Quote:

Originally Posted by sahko (Post 4819265)
Good luck with this plan, but you'd have to change many parts of Slackware to achieve that.
For example man(1) doesnt even support utf8.
You'd have to switch to man-db.

That's one of things I would like to see BEFORE translating slackware, because I use and need UTF locale and my polish man pages don't display well.

FeyFre 11-01-2012 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kikinovak (Post 4818718)
Seeing the Slackware installer display its messages in another language than english would be as shocking an experience to me as hearing my cat starting to talk to me. :D

My compatriot made derivative distribution from Slackware(actually most of derivation is inclusion extra packages to installation including translated/recoded to different languages/encodings man pages) and fully translated installer into two languages(both are Cyrillic) so language selector is one of first dialogs which appears on the screen. I wasn't shocked then, neither will be shocked later.

Didier Spaier 11-01-2012 02:38 PM

@alekow: Thanks for your remarks, following it I added the third sentence to the initial post.

@FeyFre: This is interesting. As I couldn't find that distribution (not mentioned in distrowatch.com or I need better glasses), would you mind to provide a link?

@sahko: It will be interesting to see how localized distributions deal with utf-8, this will be part of the feasibility studies and could help enhance Slackware in any case, as others mentioned.

@Totoro: All good will will certainly be warmly welcome and I am sure you skills will be useful.

@kikinovak: I understand your point about sysadmins, but targeted audience is much wider and includes not so technically inclined or computer literate users.

@guanx: I agree that we should try hard to keep the text installer and /var/log/packages/* as text files, in the KISS philosophy.
That may not be easy but as someone said: « Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. » or if you prefer the English version: "It is not necessary to hope in order to undertake, nor to succeed in order to persevere."

TobiSGD 11-01-2012 03:31 PM

Just my 2 cents: While I can see why some people want their system to run in their locale language (I do not, I prefer en_US here) and therefore the change to a fully UTF-8 supported system is a good idea, I don't agree with that when it comes to the installer and other tools, like pkgtool.

Creating localizations for the installer/tools actually makes it more difficult for us to help people installing and configuring Slackware when they run their installer/tools in a different language. One of the main reasons my systems all run en_US is that I can apply almost any tutorial or other type of documentation out there without thinking about translations, as well as giving me the ability to search for the original error-messages, if I have a problem. I sometimes find it difficult enough to follow error-messages posted here if they are not in English.

On a second thought, it makes it more difficult for the Slackware team to make changes to the installer or the config tools. They can easily implement new functions and give them an English name in the menu structure, but how do you handle that if someone is not running those tools in another language? Cut them out until they are fully translated? Who would be in charge of making sure that any Slackware specific tool with a menu structure or text in/output is fully translated?

Don't get me wrong, I think that this is a good idea (although I won't use a translated Slackware) at least to have full UTF-8 support, but I think there is much more to it than just exchanging man and translating a few text-files and people that wnt to help should be fully aware of it.

FeyFre 11-01-2012 08:05 PM

@Didier Spaier
> (not mentioned in distrowatch.com or I need better glasses)
It is called DeepStyle.
Yeah, anybody must have extra large glasses to find it there. Because there is only one mention of it - in DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 93, 28 March 2005 waiting list. Second from top. Or direct link to official web site (Google translate).

PS: I do not consider Distrowatch as reliable source of information about Linux distributions(since DeepStyle is alive almost 7 years, but for some unknown reasons not listed there).

TobiSGD 11-01-2012 08:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FeyFre (Post 4820076)
PS: I do not consider Distrowatch as reliable source of information about Linux distributions(since DeepStyle is alive almost 7 years, but for some unknown reasons not listed there).

They do not collect information about distros, you have to provide infos to them. If they don't hear anything from you I would think they assume that the project is discontinued.

FeyFre 11-01-2012 09:30 PM

We a bit offtopic-ed here..
@TobiSGD, it appears they wrong. Discounted project cannot release new versions by definition. I read opposite: they collect information about project by themselves(see new distribution submission page).


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