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Re: new proposal: Translating Debian packages' descriptions

On Tue, Sep 04, 2001 at 02:24:41PM -0500, Steve Langasek wrote:

> > I think it's very important to have the translations in the *source*
> > package.
> Also agreed.

Why? Each system will usually only require one language per package.
The rest, as far as any particular system is concerned, is just bloat.

It would be more powerful, flexible to keep translations physically (as
they are logically) separate.

Granted, there may be cases where it is useful to *be able* to put
translations into source/binary packages, but I believe that in most cases,
it will be more convenient and more useful to keep them separate.

Keeping them separate reduces space required in any particular archive,
or on any particular system. It reduces maintainer workload, reduces the
translators' reliance on maintainers, increases accountability (by allowing
each uploaded item to be signed by the relevant maintainer/translator),
reduces unnecessary upload/downloads, increases flexibility (for example
allowing multiple different sources of any particular language, or makes
it easy to provide unofficial translation archives), it makes more sense
given a potentially arbitrary number of translated languages...

As I said elsewhere, think of the archive as a big database (which it is).
Then think about how you would/should normalize the data.

When you ship bits around outside the database, it may be useful to be able
to encapsulate several related records from the database into one object.
Fine, but that doesn't mean that you should screw up your database and do
it that way all the time.

> > For the binary package, I don't know... - Gnome and KDE do include all
> > translations, and I think it's easier to handle. Additionally, disc
> > space is really cheap these days, so maybe it would be better just to
> > include all the descriptions, too.

Gnome and KDE include the translations because they know that that's the only
way they can ensure that everyone who distributes their packages distributes
the translations. They are designing their systems in the absense of any other
good working way of doing it *right now*. The fact that they do that in no
way implies that Debian should also do that.

> I think it does belong in the binary package; if not, I'm not sure why we
> would want it in the source package at all.

No reason at all. It doesn't make sense to have it in either, in most cases.

> I believe translated descriptions
> have just as much reason for inclusion in the binary package's control file
> (or in a functional equivalent) as the rest of the informational stuff that's
> in there.

No they don't. Translations are not providing extra information. They are
providing the same information in multiple different ways.

> If translated Description: fields in binary packages are not important, then
> why do we currently have the untranslated Description: in the control file?

Because you need *a* description, and in the past there has only been one
description, so there was no reason to normalise it out into a different
object. You don't, however, need 15, and when there are 15 or however many,
it makes sense to normalise them out.



Nick Phillips -- nwp@lemon-computing.com
If you think last Tuesday was a drag, wait till you see what happens tomorrow!

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