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

Le Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 07:54:44PM +0200, Daniel Pocock a écrit :
> If that means a user in Kosovo is more likely to configure their system
> correctly, then it is a good technical solution, similar to what I
> described (leaving out the country codes for such regions and helping
> them choose alternatives).
> We could also have a disclaimer, "Not all entries in this list are
> officially recognized as countries, some are disputed territories that
> have been included for the purpose of helping users in those regions get
> the optimal configuration."
> More concise: "Select the entry from this list of regions and countries
> that most closely matches your geographic location"

Hi all,

I think that configuring correctly the system is a goal that is much
easier to follow compared with making sure the installer commmunicates a
vision of the World in line with the user's views.

It is quite a big limitation when the geographic location has to be
known in order to configure a system correctly, especially that users
are increasingly mobile.  As far as I know, geographic location has been
mostly an issue related to the choice of mirror, and fortunately the
content delivery networks available from deb.debian.net should provide
an excellent alternative to mirrors for most users.  For the remaining
users, while there may be cases where the best network source for
packages is a country's mirror, it is by far not granted, so it is hard
to avoid a recommendation such as "if the CDN is too slow, consult with
other Debian users in your area or try mirrors that appear to be close
to you".

I do not see a mirror for Kosovo in <https://www.debian.org/mirror/list>,
but this page uses the word "country" only twice, so it may be easier
to have "Kosovo" in the list without having it seen as an endorsement
by Debian.  And since Kosovo does not have a TLD, there is no issue
with names such as "ftp.<country>.debian.org".

Country names may also be useful to pick a keyboard, but in this case
there is no choice for Debian to make: we can just use the information
provided by the maker.

For languages, their presence or absence in the installer strongly
depends on the availability of a translation team.  I am quite sure that
the bottleneck would not be ISO codes.  Also, languages are easy to
reconfigure after installation.  Thus, we could remove from the list any
locale that does not have visible support in Debian (installer + debconf
+ website + documentation + package descriptions + default desktop):
that would ubloat the list and we could add a brief note that if users
do not find their country, it is because Debian could not find support
for it.

So it seems that the solution would be to move away from asking the user
to enter country codes ?  Otherwise, the propose disclaimer sounds like
a good alternative.

Also, the elephant in the room is that any change will require some

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Debian Med packaging team,
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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