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Re: Bug#872867: is ISO-3166 really the optimal list for our users?

On Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 12:28:18AM +0200, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> Package: localechooser
> Version: 2.69
> Severity: wishlist
> While visiting Kosovo, I have met several people interested in becoming
> Debian users.
> The first time I helped one of them run the Debian installation, I was
> baffled to find that their country was not in the list offered by the
> installer.
> It is potentially not a good situation for a developer to be in a
> country, surround by 1.8 million people who consider themselves to be
> citizens of a country that our installer doesn't know about. 
> Fortunately Kosovans are really nice people and weren't upset about this
> but I can image they must feel quite sad each time something like this
> happens.
> According to this section in the Debian Installer i18n guide[1], the
> list of countries is based on ISO3166.
> According to wikipedia, ISO3166 comes from a group of 10
> representatives[2] from mostly rich countries.

The fact that these were rich countries doesn't matter, particularly.
Internet TLDs are IETF, I think. There's also a UN list for things like
car registrations and country codes. It's not quite as simple as it

> The Debian Social Contract[3], point 4, requires us to put our users
> first.  Can Debian do more to listen to the 1.8 million potential users
> in Kosovo and other countries like it?  Are we actually obliged to
> respect how our users see themselves over and above the way some
> bureaucrats in Geneva see them?
> I would propose that we regard ISO3166 as a subset of the list of
> countries perceived by our users and that for the next installer
> release, the locale chooser offers a list of countries with a disclaimer
> that some of them are not in ISO3166 but they are included at the
> request of our users.

Please go back and review the lists for mails round Taiwan / Hong Kong
/ China / Taiwan (R.O.C) status - this sort of thing is incredibly
tricky. Also, some countries / states / regions have two or three valid
keyboard layouts, some groups span nation boundaries - Kurds spring to
mind - and the installer is already complicated and arcane. Debian is
apolitical and largely border-agnostic but we lost developers because of
this sort of thing - ?? Herbert ?? Xu springs to mind.
> Maybe the list can show two columns, country and country code.  For
> countries where ISO3166 is not competent, the country code column could
> be blank.
> Implementing this might be tricky but not impossible.  For example, a
> crude implementation may simply display the extra countries in the main
> list, but if somebody selects one of them, the installer shows a message
> apologizing for the fact they are not fully supported and offering to
> help them choose from a subset of related country codes.  Maybe their
> preferred choice (verbose country name) could be saved somewhere for
> later use when their country is fully supported and a future version of
> localechooser will help them adapt to their eventual country code during
> a future dist-upgrade.
> For Kosovo in particular, Wikipedia notes[4] that "The code XK is being
> used by the European Commission
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Commission>,^[21]
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-1_alpha-2#cite_note-21> the IMF
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Monetary_Fund>, and SWIFT
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_for_Worldwide_Interbank_Financial_Telecommunication>,^[22]
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-1_alpha-2#cite_note-22> CLDR and
> other organizations as a temporary country code for Kosovo
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosovo>.".  Other 2-letter codes are
> mentioned elsewhere so the ideal solution may avoid using a 2 letter
> code for such countries or maybe it can borrow one of the codes used by
> other international organizations who didn't wait for ISO3166.

Then when you find that there's two or three conflicting codes? See also
the Russian / Ukrainian character set messes of long ago. [Windows
character sets, koi8r and similar]

All best, however, 

Andy C
> It may be interesting to support micronations like the Principality of
> Hutt River[5] too.
> Regards,
> Daniel
> 1. https://d-i.alioth.debian.org/doc/i18n/ch01s05.html#idm45330184240096
> 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166#Members
> 3. https://www.debian.org/social_contract
> 4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-1_alpha-2
> 5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principality_of_Hutt_River

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