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Re: additions to http://www.linux.org/dist/nonenglish.html

From: Adam Di Carlo <adam@onshore.com>
Subject: Re: additions to http://www.linux.org/dist/nonenglish.html 
Date: Tue, 09 Feb 1999 03:57:16 -0500

> On Mon, 8 Feb 1999 23:58:00 +0800, Anthony Wong <hajime@asunaro.ml.org> said:
> > Can you be more specific on the 'merging of efforts'? For example
> > how we are going to do this?
> > I'm particularly interested because I'm planning to contribute more
> > to Debian on the Chinese front (as I'm a Chinese), but I'm wondering
> > how to do that. Should I follow what Debian-JP did or aim at
> > improving the current Debian structure so that Asian languages
> > 'sub-distribution' can co-exist with the 'main distribution' (not
> > the 'main' section) gracefully?
> > If we take a look into Debian-JP we can find that there're lots of
> > localized programs, from general utils like 'less' to Debian
> > specific stuffs like boot-floppies. Simply putting them together is
> > quite ugly? Maybe we should make a language-specific branch?  (I
> > think we can learn something from FreeBSD in this respect).  Are
> > there any ongoing plans on doing these?
> The Japanese developers are engaged also in submitting their specialized
> packages into the main distribution.

Yes, the goal of the Debian JP Project is not to develop "Japanese
Debian add-ons", but to make i18n efforts of Debian itself from
Japanese (as well as other languages) point of view.

It is true that we have a lot of packages (some of them are not
Japanese-specific so they are useful for non-Japanese users) not yet
contributed to Debian. IMHO, it is mostly because many Japanese
developers feel difficulty or tiresomeness in becoming a official
Debian developer (yes, it is not difficult nor tiresome, IMO), but the
official packages from the Debian JP Project is increasing one by one.

I know that there is an effort to make i18n'ed boot-floppies. But to
support Japanese, what we have to do is not just translating the
dialog messages, but putting kon2/konfont (which enables displaying
Japanese on console) into the base system, implementing multibyte
support of dialogs and so on. And currently there is no official
policy or mechanism for translated manpages, program messages, window
manager menus etc.

Generally, current i18n is mostly "for English and Europian users". We
should promote "true i18n" by solving many problems in creating "real
i18n'ed operating system".

Keita Maehara <maehara@debian.or.jp>

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