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Re: Bug#160284: ITP: po-debconf -- Manage translated Debconf templates files with gettext

Denis Barbier wrote:
> * Package name    : po-debconf
>   Version         : 0.2.0
>   Upstream Author : Denis Barbier <barbier@linuxfr.org>,
>                     Martin Quinson <Martin.Quinson@ens-lyon.fr>
> * URL             : http://savannah.gnu.org/files/index.php?group_id=2756
> * License         : GPL
>   Description     : Manage translated Debconf templates files with gettext
>  This package is an alternative to debconf-utils and provide tools
>  to manage translated Debconf templates files with common gettext
>  utilities.
>  Merged templates files containing all translations are identical to
>  the ones generated by debconf-mergetemplate, so there is no
>  compatibility issue with Debconf.
>  This package will first be uploaded into experimental, and will go
>  into unstable when its interface is not going to change.  An example
>  can be found at
>    http://people.debian.org/~barbier/debian-installer/l10n/templates/po/

So FWIW, I support this 100%. A word to the wise: Never try to implement
a translation system when you don't fully understand translation and
localization and encodings. :-/ Debconf will eventually phase out the
old system.

So Marcin Owsiany and I have been talking on irc about fixing debconf's
encoding support, and we've arrived at the following idea:

* Add support to debconf for using iconv to convert utf-8 into the
  user's current encoding on the fly when asking questions.
* Flag templates that have all their text in utf-8 by adding a field to
  them such as "Encoding: utf-8". If a template lacks that, debconf uses
  its old, slightly broken behavior of doing no charset conversion.
* Since we have a transition period coming up anyway as packages begin to
  move to po-debconf, and since po-debconf's template po files will include
  encoding info, add onto this transition that po-debnconf generated
  template files will be in utf-8.
* Which will mean that po-debconf will either need to fail if all the po
  files are not in the utf-encoding, or, better, if they are not in
  utf-8, convert their info into that encoding when it generates the
  merged templates file (debian/templates itself can be assumed to be ASCII,
  and thus will need no conversion). And po-debconf will add the
  Encoding: utf-8 flag to the merged templates file it generates.

One concern is that I've heard that UTF-8 is really not all there for 
Japanese (Chinese?). I'm told that doing a round-trip conversion from
Shift-JIS to UTF-8 has issues. I don't know if translators can just avoid
those problem encodnings and write ja.po files that are already in UTF-8.

If that doesn't fly for Japanese, we might have to come up with
something more complete, such as Encoding-ll_LL fields in the templates
(Encoding-jp: Shift-JIS). po-debconf would then somehow decide which po
files to re-encode as utf-8 and which to leave alone, and would add the
appropriate Encoding fields.

Note also that the plan for debian-installer is, as I understand it, to
make cdebconf templates always be in UTF-8. If someone over there has
considered the Japanese issues, please lemme know.

see shy jo

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