Internationalizing Linux

John R. Lenton (
Tue, 01 Dec 1998 17:23:56 -0300

Hello all.

I've been thinking of ways in which I could help Linux while
trying to learn C, and have come back to an item that bugs
me every so often: Support for different languages. Would it
be a Good Thing to be able to choose the language Linux
speaks? I'm thinking along the lines of replacing e.g.
printk("Calibrating delay loop...") with
printk(CALIBRATING_DELAY_LOOP) and then including a
language-specific .h file with all the #define's. I
understand this kind of thing, if it is decided to be a Good
Thing by the Minds that Are, would go into 2.3, but the time
seems near and I could start working on this tomorrow. I'm
afraid I'd only be able to prepare an english (as in what's
there now) and a argentine-spanish .h, but that'll be the
easy part if things go ok.

This would be very nice if the openbios project works out,
because then Linux could start up using non-ASCII fonts,
couldn't it not? And even writing right-to-left. The problem
is that some of the more esoteric languages out there would
have a grammar so twisted [1] that you couldn't get around
things like printk("Holy %s, your %s has gone
%s!",cow,wife,crazy) that easily. We could always create
newspeak, or something.

My question is, then:
o Is this idea a Good Idea?
o What am I overlooking?
and, of course,
o What's for lunch?


[1] Esoteric Languages are known to be Twisted and Ugly to
speak, and totally useless as a means of communication.
That's why governments that care for their people (ROC)
stomp out these rampages of reason.

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