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Re: Deactivated languages

(Thiemo wrote this and I'll use it as a starting point for my mail)

> IIRC this discussion happed in 2004, before Frans took over from Joey.
> The consensus back then was that a partial translation is worst because
> it leads people not fluent in English to invest their time just to
> fall over a obstacle later.

The discussion happened, yes. But the policy was different and we
didn't de-activate languages at that time, nor did we de-activate
languages for sarge. We never activated some of them because they were
too recent (ex: Vietnamese).

The concept of "prospective" languages existed when the sarge
installer was finally built (between March and May 2005) but, at that
time, we had no very strict rules about activating a language or not.

We just decided (mostly Joey and I), in September 2004, that the list
of supported languages was frozen at some point (in Sept 2004, when we
were still in the mood of releasing sarge in December 2004). The key,
at that moment, was avoiding too important changes in size, for an
installer that was brand new for Debian, at that moment.

In the sarge->etch time period, I myself applied a quite loose policy,
activating languages when they were reaching about 33%. This allows
translators to really *test* the installer as, obviously, nothing can
be tested if the language is de-activated.

The drawback of that policy is that some languages quickly reached
that limit, were activated....then nothing was happening anymore (low
manpower, slipped interest of the translator, etc.).

So, back in August-September, it became obvious that some of these
would be de-activated to preserve the quality of Debian Installer l10n
as well as allow more control on the installer's size.

The discussion between Frans and I has been hot from time to time
because I happen to be a little bit less strict and I naturally feel
disappointed when I have to put l10n work aside. But, anyway, our
views converged and we decided to deactivate languages on two

-incomplete translation AND no activity for more than a few months

-translation ratio below 90%

That last item may have exceptions and we examined each case
separately, based on my knowledge of the given translator/translation
team work method.

All these translators have been *warned* about the situation and
several of them agreed that it would be better shipping without their
language rather than shipping with a too incomplete AND untested

As a conclusion, I think that what we reached is a correct
compromise. I of course regretted that some of the translations which
*I* have spent much time on, along with translators, have finally to
be dropped....but this may be temporary for some of them.

Indeed, after this, a few translators/teams re-motivated themselves
and found the resources to actually complete their work. And Frans and
I always left an opened door to re-activate languages. Given the will
to avoid too invasive changes between RC1 and RC2, all these
reactivations will be discussed one by one, but I'm confident...:-)

So, please follow my daily reports in -i18n and watch for news....

As a lesson from this discussion, I think that, for the development of
the lenny installer, we will have to set more precise rules such as:

- the master file will be splitted in two files: one for the
"important" D-I packages (those which are used on any type of install and
are relevant for the most popular architectures) and another one for
the "standard" D-I packages

-prospective languages are activated when they reach NN% on the
"important" file and are kept activated until we reach the RC releases

-when we prepare RC releases, we de-activate languages that are below
NN% for the "important" file and MM% for the "standard" file, or
languages which have got no translator activity in the last ZZ weeks.

PS: "lenny" is the now official codename of the next Debian release,
see the recent release team announcement. IIRC, this is the magnifying
glasses ("jumelles" en français) that appear in Toy Story 1

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