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Re: .bash_profile, the empty /etc/skel, and the first user

On Mon, 16 Dec 1996, Lars Wirzenius wrote:

> Instead of putting these in /etc/profile, I think it might be better
> to write a document on localization of the Debian system.

Uh-Oh. I hardly dare to mention the fact that I compeled Bruce to set up a
mailing list for that issue several weeks ago ... (it's not been used).

Maybe the communication of the activist involved in this issue could be
served by this list while they announce important ideas here in
debian-devel. The same arguments as for debian-admintool hold true: there
are people out there (e.g. translators) for which the traffic on
debian-devel is less than attractive.

> Something that isn't specific to any particular shell, preferably.

Unfortunatly the locale-settings are done through the environment variable
LANG and I know no proper way to omitt this.

If we start high enough (somewhere aroung "init"), the setting of LANG
becomes independent of the shell one uses. But - this could be fatal if
some program waits for a (English) message without setting LANG to C (or
unsetting it). I'm not sure if this bytes the startup of Debian.

Even worse "LANG" does only _some_ aspects of internationalization,
namely (taken from the locale mini-HOWTO):

        Sort order.

        Character definitions, uppercase, lowercase, ...  These are used
        by the functions like toupper, tolower, islower, isdigit, ...

        Contains the information necessary to format money in the
        fashion expected.  It has the definitions of things like the
        thousands separator, decimal separator, and what the monetary
        symbol is and how to position it.

        Thousands, and decimal separators, and the numeric grouping

        How to specify the time, and date.  This has the things like the
        days of the week, and months of the year in abbreviated, and non
        abbreviated form.

        Yes, and No expressions.

        This sets the locale, and overrides any other LC_xxxx
        environment variables.

Anyway, what's missing are the

  - the appropreciate keyboard mapping
  - the softfont to load
  - the papersize
  - the timezone

Then again, these settings could be derived from the LANG-variable or at
least the installation procedure could make a good guess upon it. This
could be more effective than telling the user how he can do it himself.


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