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Re: Do we need policy changes?

Nikolai Prokoschenko wrote:
> Hello,

Thanks for your input.

> I really don't know how to express what I want to say :) It has come
> to my mind a few days ago when the Vera fonts were released to public.
> My problem was: everybody was acting like mad, screaming "at last,
> some good fonts for linux!", whereas, as far as I remember, these
> fonts lacks many many scripts, starting with the simpliest ones like
> Cyrillic. I don't even want to mention double-width characters. The
> same with some GPL'ed fonts release newly (don't remember the name,
> something starting with a 'd') - nothing except latin1. Same with

This would require people with skills and tools to extend those
fonts.  I'm not even sure this can be done with Free Software, but
this is probably a very valid request.  Since the Internet is
English-centric, most of its outcome is presumably in English.

Problem: fonts contain insufficient characters
Solution: find font designers to complete them

I don't know how and where to find them.  Maybe newsforge.net wants to
host a story and maybe with much luck a designer is found.

You could also ask Bitstream who just released a set of free fonts, to
complete their work.

> otherwise excellent Knoppix-CD (OK, it's not a Debian release, but a good
> example of not caring about i18n and l10n): if you start it with the
> Russian interface, the fonts are plain ugly - nothing was made to
> ensure anti-aliasing for example.

Since Knoppix is a German effort, it's pure luck that it is
bilingual. :-)

Even though I disagree with you, Knoppix is indeed a very good
example.  Klaus created Knoppix for a particular reason, and since
that reason did not contain l10n other than Germany, why should he
care?  It would only distract him from the main issue.

However, since Knoppix is a Free Software effort as well, you are
welcome to a) re-create a knoppix-ru.iso and add proper Russian
support, or b) subscribe to debian-knoppix[1] and help Klaus add
support if he agrees that this is a desirable goal and it would still
fit on the CD.

As Manoj pointed out, that's how Free Software works: If you find a
lack of something, report it and eventually fix it yourself and
release patches.

> What I think about is some regulated way to care about the needs of
> international debian users. Let's take an example: some
> programm???plays badly along with UTF-8 and therefore can't be properly
> used by me, as I need e.g. both German and Russian. I can as well file

Please name these programs, report proper bug reports, eventually add

> a bug against it, but it wouldn't matter much, as the maintainer would
> just say 'it's not supported upstream' and nothing would happen. Other

Maybe the maintainer just has no clue about how UTF should work in
that particular application and can't do much about it other than wait
until upstream has a clue and implements it.

However, there's nothing wrong with Debian shipping a fully utf-8
compliant version while the upstream version does not contain support
for utf-8.  That does require somebody skilled enough to implement it,

Even if the Debian maintainer won't include patches to make the
application work well with utf8, you (or somebody else) could still
provide a foo-utf package that contains proper support in addition to
the usual foo package.  That's how Japanese support was added to many
applications when the Debian-JP team actually joined Debian and
inserted their prior work in form of tons of foo-ja packages.  Most of
them should be merged with the normal foo package nowardays.

> situation would arise, if something like interoperability in different
> language environments had been (I'm just speculating) a part of Debian
> Policy. In that case, package at least could have been marked as
> 'non-functioning under non-latin circumstances' and this could
> possibly lead to exclusion from Debian, or separating it into a
> diffenrent part of debian (like non-US is) etc. This way, a possible
> user could be warned in advance and maybe lead to the break-through
> for Unicode.

You could always file grave bug reports against such packages and
prevent Debian to release a new stable version ever...

You could also try to plaster in our policy that a package needs to be
UTF-8 complient.  But then again, it's also forbidden to move over a
street if the light is red.

Somebody else mentioned a web page that contains a list of packages
that work well with UTF8 and a list of packages that doesn't, together
with a list of packages that need to be investigated.  This is how
Debian-IPv6 works.  Fabio maintains such a web page, iirc.



[1] http://mailman.linuxtag.org/ should have details

If nothing changes, everything will remain the same.  -- Barne's Law

Please always Cc to me when replying to me on the lists.

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