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Re: ITP: language


on Wed, 09 Feb 2000 you wrote:
> > I've already thought of doing something to improve support for
> > German under Debian (I'm German..), so if you are going to
> > work on user-de, I would be glad to help.
> I will be glad to support German language.
> > How do you set LANG and related env.vars? I could not find a 
> > central place in Debian to set 'global' environment vars 
> > available to all programs. Do you use /etc/environment?
> > That seems like the best place to me, even though it's not
> > yet sourced from /etc/profile by default. It seems to me
> > there is no clear policy on how to set systemwide env. vars.,
> > maybe some discussion could make that clearer.
> It is against policy of this package to set 'global' environment.
> One reason is that people from many countries may share one machine.
> However, more realistic reason is that native language settings
> are so delicate that global settings may be dangerous.  For example,
> there are no way to enable Japanese characters at boot time.
> Most of x-terminal-emulators cannot display Japanese characters.
> Thus the dot-files which my package provides are 'better' way, not 
> the 'best' way. 
That´s an interesting point, I had not thought about that before.
It´s true that enabling languages whose scripts are not so well 
supported in Linux at present (such as Japanese(?)) can cause
Still, I was thinking from a user´s perspective: On many systems (such
as the one I help to administer) most people have the same native
language. On those systems the most reasonable default for
the language is the native language of most users. Otherwise
all users individually have to reconfigure the system to use
their language, that seems quite user-unfriendly to me 
(plus many users don´t know how to do it, and thus never
get the benefit of locales).

In any case, if  things actually break and no longer work
properly when setting LANG=some_language, that´s a bug
(in the malfunctioning program or in the locale) which 
should be fixed.
Therefore, not using a locale setting as a default because
it causes problems seems a bug workaround to me.
In the long run, I think every linux system should use
the locale setting that corresponds to the language of
the majority of its users as a default (just like most other
OSes do). Of course, if locales are not well integrated
into linux yet, it makes sense to let users enable them

> Especially, the 'global' setting will affect
> root user, which most Japanese people regard too dangerous and
> hate.  I think most Japanese user don't set LANG variable for
> root user.  I think German root user also should not use LANG=de.
Could you explain that?   Where are the security
implications in using LANG=de (or whatever)? Programs work just
the same (at least they should). 

> BTW, let's discuss in Debian mailing lists!
> (You can cite this mail in these mailing lists.  Now I send 
> this mail only to you because your mail was personal mail to me.)
That´s what I just did :-)



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