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Re: Warm up discussion about desktop files [Was: Lintian check for missing desktop files?]

On Tue, 19 Apr 2011 13:34:43 +0200
"Bernhard R. Link" <brlink@debian.org> wrote:

> * Neil Williams <codehelp@debian.org> [110419 12:50]:
> > How can the old Debian menu system be considered as "working" when it
> > has never supported translation? All those titles and longtitles, not
> > a single one can be shown as a translated string.
> Let's not start about longtitles, those "Comment"s found in .desktop
> files are usually a joke.

I disagree - my own packages and those I've worked on have usable
comment strings and usually a dozen translations of Name and Comment.

On my own box, I don't see any Comment fields that could be classified
as a joke. Most contain a description of what the program does, as the
Comment field should. If that needs improving, file wishlist bugs. At
least it can be easily fixed and subsequently maintained.

> For the names translation is something that almost does not exist,
> even with .desktop files.  (There exists some transliteration into other
> character sets where .desktop is of course superior).

Then that is lazy of the upstream. Most programs can do with a longer
name than the program name. File bugs. At least these can be easily
patched and then submitted for translation using tools and translation
mechanisms with which all translators are already familiar. The Name
probably should include the name but there are good reasons to specify
that the Name field should contain the program name and a short
description. "Foo text editor" is much better than just "foo".

It might be worth having a lintian warning for where Name= exactly
matches the Exec field, ignoring case and stripping off any arguments
in the Exec field, but then what is wrong with a terminal application
describing itself as "Terminal" and a comment of "Use the command
line" ?

> >From looking on a local squeeze system here at the .desktop file
> not specific to the gnome setting menu, there are 54 with no German
> name translation, 10 where the German translation is the same, 19 where
> there is a German translation, but almost all of them seem to have
> missed the difference between Name and GenericName (especially things
> like totem, evince, eog, file-roller, nautilus).

I think that might be a historical thing - less than 10% of .desktop
files on my system have a Generic Name field. However, those which
trouble you can be easily fixed with wishlist bugs and easily
translated into any supported locale.

> And the debian menu has supported translations since longer than .desktop
> files even exist. It just has the strange idea that it might be easier
> for translators to supply one file with all the translations of their
> language instead of having to change a file in virtually every package
> in the distribution to add their language.

Are you talking about menu-l10n ?

WOW! THREE translated locales. THREE out of several hundred
supportable locales with .desktop files! (One of the three is only at
20% translated.) A popcon of 0.2% and not updated since Squeeze, so no
end of missing applications and changed strings. How is that meant to
keep pace with changes in the distribution?

Why would a centralised file be a good example anyway? man-db has a
very complex task and quite poor coverage in many locales and that's
only a subset of all manpages. Program messages and debconf strings
cannot be centralised. The whole point is that a fully translated
system is a major undertaking and requires filing updates with many
many packages anyway. It certainly doesn't look as if the centralised
approach used by menu-l10n is actually attracting any translation


Neil Williams

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