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I18N (Multibyte Enablation) of debconf


So far debconf has some problems handling multibyte character
encodings such as UTF-8, EUC-JP, EUC-KR, GB2312, and Big5.
Thus, I wrote a patch to enable it.  I would like my patch be
tested by peoples who use many 8bit/multibyte characters
before I will ask this patch adopted by debconf.

Detailed explanation and analysis, screenshots, the patch,
and patched package of debconf are available at:

A problem occurs when debconf is used in UTF-8 in languages
which use many non-ASCII characters.  Since number of bytes
of a string is not same as number of character nor number of
columns, line-folding doesn't work well.  In languages with
small amount of non-ASCII characters (such as German), the
problem rarely occurs even in UTF-8, so 8bit/multibyte people
will have to help ourselves otherwise we might be left behind.

Chinese and Japanese have additional problems.  Since they
don't use whitespaces between words, translators have to
insert whitespaces per about 70 columns to ensure the line-
folding work well.

To test problematic situation:

  1. install libtext-iconv-perl (to ensure using translation) and
     whiptail (to use dialog frontend; "dialog" package is too buggy
     for multibyte people, see Bug#195674) packages.
  2. prepare UTF-8 terminal like "mlterm -E UTF8" or "uxterm".
  3. in the terminal, set your favorite locale with UTF-8, like
     "export LANG=zh_TW.UTF-8" or "LANG=ru_RU.UTF-8 ; export LANG".
  4. invoke debconf in root, like "dpkg-reconfigure -f dialog debconf".

To test additional problematic situation for Chinese and Japanese:

  1. prepare terminal in your favorite encodings like EUC-JP, GB2312,
     or Big5.
  2. ensure setting proper locale like "ja_JP.eucJP", "zh_TW.Big5", or
  3. invoke debconf in root, like "dpkg-reconfigure -f dialog debconf".
  4. Change the width of the terminal window (like 60x25 or 70x25) and
     try again.

To test my patch:

  1. Download the patched package of debconf and install it.
  2. test the above problematic situations.

Tomohiro KUBOTA <kubota@debian.org>

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