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Re: Quel avenir pour la version française des pages de manuel Linux ?

Hello Christian,

Thanks very for responding!

(Je repete: si l'on veut me repondre en francais, ca va pour moi.
Mais j'ecris plus vite et plus clair en anglais.)

On Wed, Jul 23, 2008 at 11:11 AM, Christian Perrier <bubulle@debian.org> wrote:
> Quoting Michael Kerrisk (mtk.manpages@googlemail.com):
>> > assurer un travail collaboratif. C'est une chose à laquelle je pense depuis
>> > bien longtemps [3], mais je n'ai toujours pas trouvé « chaussure à mon
>> > pied » ! Une dernière mauvaise expérience m'a fait comprendre qu'« on est
>> > jamais mieux servi que par soi-même », l'hébergement du projet se fera donc
>> > chez moi, dès que j'aurai acquis le minimum d'expérience que cela nécessite,
>> > au détriment de ma connexion Internet personnelle.
>> The only hope I see at this stage is if the Debian team decides to
>> join forces with Alain.  (Unless some other new translators appear,
>> which seems unlikely.)  Even then, I'm not sure if there will be
>> enough translators.  But anyway, I'd like to urge both parties to try
>> and find a way that they can work together using common
>> infrastructure.  But if that is done, could it please be in a way that
>> allows contribututions from new translators (if they should appear)
>> from other distributions (e.g., Fedora, Ubuntu, or Mandriva).
> The Debian team is always ready to join forces. The "fork" mentioned
> by Alain was motivated by a disagreement we had in the past about the
> tools to use to achieve the translation work.

Correct me if I'm wrong about this: one of the effects of the "fork"
is that Debian has in this instance ("man-pages") created a
translation effort whose results are used only by Debian.  That seems

> We feel that manpages translation is much more efficient, particularly
> as *team* work (where the load can be shared) when gettext files are
> used.
> This is why the po4a tool was developed in the past, by Martin Quinson
> (member, at that time, of the Debian l10n French team). That tool has
> been used since then for more and more manpages i18n for
> Debians-pecific tools (dpkg, aptitude, etc.)

(Of course, I have no experience of translating man pages :-).  I can
guess at some virtues of po4a, but it's just a guess.)

> IIRC, we proposed Alain, in the past, to use po4a to build PO files
> for the French translation Of the Linux manpages, which would allow us
> to share the work.
> IIRC (again...please correct me if I'm wrong), Alain preferred using
> the methods he always used for French translations (which I understand
> quite well as changing tools is not always easy to consider when one
> is used to a work method).
> So, as of now, the French translation of manpages done in Debian is
> done with PO files, then the files are regenerated *and the changes
> are sent to Alain* by Nicolas François who is currently doing the huge
> work of recollecting all this.

(I'm not so sure that the changes have always actively and regularly
been sent back to Alain, but of course Nekral and Alain know more
about this.)

> So, I see quite unfair to talk about a fork while we are still doing
> some push of our translation updates back to Alain (through Nicolas
> François) and are still committed to do this.

Well, it is a fork in the sense that there are two independent
translations being made of least some of the upstream material, right?

> Actually, I think we all should discuss about what would be the best
> way to progress when it comes at Linux manpages and the huge work
> represented by their i18n and then l10n. We have nearly everything
> needed for that, indeed:
> - an active upstream (you, Michael)
> - a motivated translator who wants to see the huge work he did put
>  in this not being wasted and vanish (Alain...)
> - technically-skilled people to help setting up a good i18n
>  infrastructure for these manpages (Nicolas François, maintainer
>  of po4a)
> - maybe even the Debian i18n infrastructure. We now have a "nearly in
>  production" Pootle server, which we would be delighted to "offer"
>  as localization infrastructure for the Linux manpages
>  (/me, Debian i18n team "leader" along with other Debian i18n
>   server admins).

Thanks Christian. I think it's very useful to list all of the above,
to make clear the many positive things that can help with a combined
effort.  The combination of all of these is certainly a great base for
future work.

> I understand that, doing so, we're pushing towards the adoption of
> gettext as preferred format for Linux manpages i18n/l10n....and this
> might hurt some people who are doing that work manually or
> semi-manually for years. But, really, after an itial adaptation time,
> that's worth considering it. If some of you have the chance of running
> Debian or Ubuntu, just try looking at the dpkg manpages...:-)
> For Alain, that may sound like beating an old horse as we had such
> discussion a few years ago, already. However, maybe are we more ready
> now than we were at that time. It's worth considering this, IMHO.

I know that Alain has been doing a lot of work recently to improve his
translation by reviewing all of the diffs with Debian's translation.
I guess that this has the effect of decreasing the differences between
the two translations.  Now hypothetically speaking, suppose the
upstream maintainer switched to using po4a.  (I know that Alain
resists this, but let's just explore possibilities here.)  In that
case, if everyone wants to move to a single transation, I suspect that
at least some team's work needs to be discarded.  If I understand
things right the only choices are:

a) Simply switch over to using the current Debian translation, and
make that "upstream".  This would have the effect of discarding
Alain's work as embodied in the differences between the two
* I think this would be a tough path for Alain to agree to, since he
has invested so much effort (perhaps evern more than the whole Debian
team combined, but that's just *my* guess).

b) Convert the current upstream French pages to po4a, and the Debian
teams switches to working on that version of the translation.  This
would have the effect of discarding the Debian team's work as embodied
in the differences between the two translations.
* Acknowledges Alain's tremendous work, and is a clear demonstration
of goodwill by the Debian team.
*Alain must switch to po4a; but perhaps in the end it is worth doing that.
* Some of Debian's work is lost -- but maybe the loss is not enormous,
because Alain has been doing a lot of work comparing the two
translations and changing his.  (Of course, you can deduce better than
me the magnitude of the current differences between the two

c) Systematically review each and every one of the 850 pages in
man-pages, to remove all of the diffs, taking whichever is the better
of the two translations in each case, in order to arrive at a single
translation that everyone agrees on and can go forward with.
* this is "the perfect solution" -- everyone arrives at a translation
that they agree on.
* The perfect is the enemy of the good: this approach is a *huge*
amount of work, I guess, and would take quite some time to complete.
In the meantime, I'm marching on, producing several new man pages each
week, and changing many others.
* Alain must switch to po4a; but perhaps in the end it is worth doing that.

Are there any possibilities other than those I've listed above?

And I can't resist asking: which of these options could each side
consider as viable?



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