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Re: More support European users in Debian

On Sun, 19 Jan 1997, Fabrizio Polacco wrote:

> Suppose I've got an account on your machine which is set by default to
> icelantic, and then the system displays some strange warning before I
> can log in ...

I can't reproduce that. As "TERM" is not exported via "telnet" and
friends, you don't mess up (-> no locale) your other accounts by logging
What happens at the other end is a question of remote policy.  "login:"
and "password:" are still displayed and even if they would be (I hardly
believe that) in Icelandic, you would still have a chance to guess what
it means and enter you login-id.  If /etc/issue or /etc/motd is written in
Icelandic it's the decision of the remote sysadmin.
Now, as the commands of you favorite shell are not translated, you can
still use them. If the shell barks at you in a foreign language, you can
set LANG=C and you are done. If the user has no clue about this, he will
naturally ask the sysadmin who may do that for him (and the sysadmin will
learn that he may set this for foreign users by default).

> A global setting would influence also root, and therefore all system
> messages 

Unfortunatly not. Our shell-scripts in /etc/* are not yet translated into
foreign languages and therefore you will get a mix of languages. But you
get this anyways today because not everything is translated yet. One
"solution" is to drop the idea of messages in the native language of the
user. The other way is to complete the process of translation and add this
feature to all shell-scripts (maybe featuring GNU gettext).

> and the programs that scans this output ...

The first thing you do before scanning output of another program is to set
"LANG=C". Otherwise you violate POSIX (from my point of view).

> Please, leave English as the default AND root language and add easy

Internationalization (i18n) makes no difference between root and other
users. It's behind it's scope.

The technical English which is displayed by programs is very hard to
understand - even if one can conversate. Several people already reported
that to me (and I was astonished because I thought that they "can speak
_We_ are computer experts and used to the technical terms. Describing the
technical terms in peoples native language helps a lot. That's one of the
main ideas behind translating messages.

> configuration commands to let a user select (and change on the fly)

No, please not another command the user must learn to get along with the
What we need is an integrated concept that handles new users. For example
by asking them several questions (nearly the same as the packages do
while installing, but on the user-level).

> language and locale, as he can just now do with keyboard and timezone.

Now, keyboard is always a local matter. The timezone has the same status
as the language: you have to overwrite it yourself (via the TZ-variable).

> +---------------------------------------------------------------+
> > non scampa, tra chi veste da parata, chi veste una risata.[fg]|
> +---------------------------------------------------------------+

Huh? Please say that in English! :-)


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