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Re: Exclusion, was: Clarification about krooger's platform

Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org> wrote:
> There were multiple announcemnts and as much time as possible before
> closing the set of supported languages for sarge d-i.

Where were these announcements? Sorry, I had asked
previously and was told there has been no official
announcement, which I had no reason to doubt.

Today, it is not obviously mentioned on pages like
http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/ or
http://people.debian.org/~seppy/d-i/translation-status.html -
apologies if I'm just looking in the wrong places (or just dim),
but those seem like the first places new translators would find.

It's not d-i developers' responsibility to ask everyone, but it
was frustrating there seemed no way to find out besides dumb luck.

> [...] The only language that has been dropped that was available in
> the boot floppies is Esperanto. I suspect that is not a significant
> exclusion; wikipedia puts the number of native speakers of Esperanto as
> a first language at "200 to 2000".

That estimate is nearly ten years old. Of course, it is more
common as a *second* language, which was the original plan
for it.  It's estimated there were at least 2 million users at
the turn of this century and I think there are above-average
proportions of liberals and humanists, who would be attracted
by debian's social contract, but both of those are pretty
unmeasurable numbers. For much of the 20th century, Esperanto
use was persecuted by extreme and parochial interests, which
I think makes underestimation probable.

The last installer was translated, its translator is still around
and there's still an active language list, but it seems no-one
asked there. I'm sorry you don't think the language significant
enough to worry!

Even so, it was not my intention to portray the d-i situation
as worse than it is. d-i seems good at localising. The point
was: language is a barrier to entry and there are some project
misfeatures about it which seem as worthy of DPL attention
as sex. This was just an example I had seen recently. If
a previously-supported language with easily-identifiable
English-using users gets dropped from a key subproject, how
else can things slip through, especially for languages with
fewer active English-using users?

> It's actually rather stunning the amount of work that Christian Perrier
> and other language coordinaters have done to find translators and work
> with them.

I think we agree there. I've been impressed with Christian. It's
just a shame there aren't more.

> > So, there's far more obvious exclusion produced by lack of language
> > support than by using a "wrong" example gender in English.
> Doubful. IIRC, Christian estimates that roughly 65% of the world's
> population is able to use d-i in a language they know.

Is that 65% for the d-i in the next release, or d-i current? That
still leaves a third excluded and d-i is *much* better than most,
far more widely translated more than most of debian. There's
a lot of other things to improve too. Also, I suspect that we
need a higher level of language proficiency than "a language
they know." I can use five languages off the top of my head,
but only three in which I'm good enough at computer words to
try installing something potentially destructive like a new OS
(and the dictionaries I have for the other two aren't good).

Which brings me back to the question: why should a DPL focus
on sexism more than language or other barriers to entry into
debian? On this particular example, we could even do some good
in the wider community by testing and encouraging solutions to
other "awkward" localisations.

My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
Subscribed to this list. No need to Cc, thanks.

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