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Re: How many people need locales?

On Mon, Sep 03, 2001 at 07:12:16AM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> On Mon, 3 Sep 2001, Ari Makela wrote:
> > Santiago Vila writes:
> > 
> >  > For the purposes of determining whether or not "most users need to
> >  > change the /etc/locale.gen file" Ben and I need an estimate of the
> >  > proportion of Debian users using locales among all Debian users.
> > 
> > Just about anyone who's not from English speaking countries. For
> > example, we Finns need '?äö' and their capital versions. They just
> > don't work if you don't set locales right.  If you take a look at even
    that is the point. You need to use 8-bit chars, not locales.
    Unfortunately, i18n (flawed) approach is to use locale to
    allow 8-bit chars.

> > just European languages you can see that most of them cannot be
> > written with a-zA-Z. Actually, I think only English can. I'm not sure
> > of some of the smaller countries like Belgia, though.

well, the smallest country (Vatican) does not need 8-bit chars for Latin :-)

> Belgium has three official languages (German, French and Dutch), and they
> all need characters out of the a-zA-Z space, like ë, ?, é, ü, ç, and more.
> People from the Netherlands speak Dutch, so they need them too.
> People from Luxembourg speak French, German or Letzebürge (not too sure
> about the spelling of that language), so they need it too.
> I'm quite positive that only English doesn't need locales...

Wrong approach.
You have to realize that locales take care of 3 different things:
1) gettext
People need gettext everywhere. There are people who prefer
the original English messages, but in general, for other than
english-speaking countries there is always a large user base
that needs gettext
2) localization of system internals. This includes date format,
collate order, currency, number format etc...
This is harmful and people generally prefer to switch it OFF.
Especially the so-called European number format: I have seen
a program that used output like this: 1.2,1.5,3.1,5.4
In slovak locale, the output looked like this: 1,2,1,5,3,1,5,4. 
3) isprint(3) and family
This is where you need 8-bit chars, and the decision to
put this into locale was wrong.
And even English need 8-bit chars.
4) (did I say 3 things? :-)) Multibyte locales. This is 
a completely different beast.

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