A language by any other name
some days ago I submitted a bug (111465) against the "locales" package
asking for the inclusion of the alias "english" for the locale
"en_US.ISO-8851-1". Ben Collins, the maintainer of "locales", swiftly
closed it with this message:
Find a consensus on whether english should be en_US or en_UK and
I'll do it. As I fail to think you will find this consensus, I'm
closing this bug.
My bug was triggered by the fact that gdm offers a long selection of
languages, among them English (without bells and whistles, just plain
old "English") and in case you select that, it sets the environment
variable LANG to that, "english". Since that locale doesn't exist, and
there isn't an alias for that, this causes some programs to emit
spurious warnings about undefined/invalid locales. I don't care. For
me the solution is to set LANG in my .bashrc (or unset it, which is
what I actually do -- I noticed the bug because this was a new
installation where my standard environment wasn't available yet).
Since other users are likely to hit this, too, I submitted at bug. At
first I was going to submit it against gdm, for setting LANG to a "bad"
value, but then I noticed /etc/locale.alias contains things like:
What's the problem? German is spoken outside Germany. That what's
spoken outside Germany is not the same as that what's spoken inside
Germany, but that what's spoken outside is still called German
(officially), as far as I know. That is to say, de_AT.ISO-8859-1 is as
"german" as de_DE.ISO-8859-1. The same goes for French, Portuguese and
Spanish, this being the extreme case since it's spoken in 20+ countries
outside Spain but it's still called "Spanish" in all of them (ignore
"Castellano", please). What makes English different? In fact, after
thinking about this, and given what's stored in that file, I'd change
my bug to "please alias english to en_UK.ISO-8859-1" (or more
But Ben wants a consensus, so I'm asking here.
FWIW, that file *is* shipped with locales as /etc/locale.alias, even if
there's no sensible default for some entries there, as I have shown
Marcelo | Nanny Ogg never did any housework herself, but she was
email@example.com | the cause of housework in other people.
| -- (Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies)