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Re: Debian Debconf Translation proposal ( again )

On Wed, Jan 07, 2004 at 04:56:01PM +0100, Dominique Devriese wrote:
> Colin Watson writes:
> > There is most certainly a problem with dependencies: every time a
> > string changes the new package needs to depend on a suitably updated
> > version of the translations package, otherwise apt is perfectly
> > within its rights to install it later and so the translations will
> > not be available at configuration time.
> 1. There is no translation package for every real package.  There is
>    one translation package per language containing all of the
>    translations for all Debian packages.

Yes, I've understood that now, but I don't think it changes things. In
fact, it exposes you to concerns such as "where do you put translations
for templates in non-free packages?" and "what happens if a security
update to stable needs to change a translation, for instance because the
debconf template gave dangerous advice?". The latter in particular would
make the security team's job much more difficult.

It's all much easier to comprehend if the translations just go with
their corresponding templates, the same way gettext .po files do.

> 2. Not having fully updated translations in unstable is not a problem,
>    and inevitable.  The system concerns itself with having fully
>    updated translations for every stable release.  Because there is a
>    string freeze before every stable release, a package does not need
>    to depend on anything to make sure its translations are up to date.

It does if it wants to handle upgrades correctly. Users should not need
to be aware of a string freeze, and should not have to manually upgrade
any translations package first.

Also, if you only concern yourself with stable, then you lose a valuable
component of testing by users in unstable.

> > In fact, there's an even worse problem: at the point when debconf
> > .config scripts are run, a package may rely only on essential
> > packages (and debconf itself). So I still don't think that having a
> > separate translations package will work. You might be able to kludge
> > it up in the installer, but it would break for upgrades. When you
> > dist-upgrade from sarge to sarge+1, the .config scripts of all
> > upgraded debconf-using packages will be run before *any* packages,
> > including your proposed translations packages, are installed. Thus,
> > the translations will be useless.
> Ah, now I see what you mean.  You're right that a new version of the
> translation package would have to be installed before configuring any
> other packages.

No, it must be installed before even starting an installation run of any
other packages. That's a very strenuous requirement, and it's a
requirement that does not exist (for good reason) anywhere else in
Debian apart from perhaps some special cases in the packaging system.
Even in those latter cases, we try hard to spread out the changes over
more than one release, so that upgrades from one release to the one
immediately following it can be smooth. That approach isn't possible

> Note that the translations packages don't need to be configured before
> the other packages.  They only need to be unpacked.  Isn't it the case
> that all packages going to be upgraded are first unpacked, and then
> configured.

Yes, but that doesn't help you at all. See above.

> > I urge you to reconsider this proposal, as I think it's fatally
> > flawed.
> I think the advantages outweigh the above technical problem, which can
> likely be overcome.

I'm sorry, but I do still disagree. And I still think it is important
and valuable that changes to a package go through its maintainer(s), as
someone who has in the past corrected translation errors that nobody
else spotted when validating patches submitted to my packages.

> > That seems plausible as part of a freeze. I haven't thought it out
> > to see whether I think it'd work in practice. (Most of my packages
> > with debconf translations have received fairly few translations
> > anyway; only the highest-profile of them stand any chance of staying
> > remotely up to date.)
> I think this very much illustrates the need for a better translation
> system.

Nobody has apparently even tried for more than half a dozen or so
languages. Filing bugs is really not that hard; a trivial script can do
it semi-automatically if you want. I think this illustrates the need for
better translators first. :)


Colin Watson                                  [cjwatson@flatline.org.uk]

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