Re: Internationalizing Linux

Kurt Garloff (
Fri, 4 Dec 1998 14:24:50 +0100

On Fri, Dec 04, 1998 at 11:52:17AM +0900, Drago Goricanec wrote:
> On 03 Dec 1998 16:25:16 +0100, Jes Sorensen writes:
> > Oh and how to you expect kernel hackers to be able to help debug a
> > problem when someone posts dmesg output in Chinese to linux-kernel?
> So is that why the old IBM mainframes tagged every system message with
> a unique identifier?

And it's a very good idea. If you want to create tools which parse your
logs, you probably don't want to scan for multiple languages ...

> > We've had this discussion before, about a year ago I think, forget it
> > once and for all, please.
> I think having messages appear in the sysadmin's native language has
> merit. The front line for Linux support is moving away from this
> list.
> Once messages permeate back to this list, they can be converted back
> to English just as the original message was converted originally to
> the native language.

Which is much harder for the sysadmin than understanding the meaning of an
english message.

I'd suggest the following: Add numbers to the printk messages and leave the
english as it is.
printk ("<4> [00002] Calibrating delay loop ... [] 12.32 BogoMIPS");
(We don't want userspace tools to translate these numbers into english.
Think of installation or boot problems.) You can create a userspace tool to
pick up these numbers, to remove the english text and put the native
language text instead. [00002] would be translated into "Kalibriere
Verzoegerungsschleife ..." (german, in my native language) and [] would not
be translated.
klogd would normally (option) just strip these [00002] and [] messages, but
with a plugin module for translation it will remove the english text and put
the text delivered by the translator instead. There are grammar problems for
some languages with such an approach, however.

I'm very satisfied with kernel messages in english. And I'm rather annoyed
to have the glibc display perrors in german: When programming my own little
tools, I create error messages this way:
if (errno)
fprintf (stderr, "tool: Can't open file \"foo\": %s\n", strerror(errnor));
which results in bilingual messages.


Kurt Garloff <>  (Dortmund, FRG)
PGP key on

Microsoft gives you Windows, Linux gives you the whole house

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