Re: Internationalizing Linux

Gerd Knorr (
Sun, 6 Dec 1998 10:06:56 +0100

In lists.linux.kernel you write:

>I'll try and summarize (and add a few extra thoughts):

>+ Nobody wants to have to understand yet another [dozen]
> language[s] just to help Linux.

>This works both ways: an english programmer shouldn't
>have to try and decipher a bug report in spanish, and
>a programmer from Maldives shouldn't have to learn
>english to contribute. This has been the case so far,
>but it isn't really the way to go. Or is it?

It is. How do you want to talk to other developers
if you can't speak english? Having the messages
translated is'nt all you need to report a problem/
ask for help/ask how foobar works/whatever...

>o There needs to be some standard message identifier if
> this is going to go at all.

No. Have a look at gettext, it uses the english message
as key. You don't have to modify the kernel at all,
you don't have to reinvent the wheel, and you can start
hacking a translating dmesg tool today.

>- Many maintainers have said they will not be bothered
> with this. "It'll be a maintainer's nightmare"
> seems to be the main reaction.

>It needn't be. Because the maintainer or programmer or
>developer who actually writes the important stuff that
>gets the job done would just write the messages as a
>unique code (based on...?), and include in a separate
>file the messages in his own language.

It will not work IMHO. Becauce many of the developers
will not accept it.

>Let me give you an example: José has Linux on his
>machine, and one day it boots up pretty much the same as
>usual, except that it suddenly says

>El kernel entró en pánico: JUA: Imposible hacer café con
>la tostadora!

>So he runs to the sysadmin/guru/whatnot, who
> a) recognizes the error and solves it;
> b) doesn't recocknize the error, looks up
>kP:JUA:Az0Q, sees it's a "Kernel panic: JUA: Unable to
>make EVENT with DEVICE", and solves it;
> c) b) but doesn't solve it, rather he askas the
>guys at linux-kernel what should be done but using i)
>the message and ii) the message code. So Pitr could take
>the code, translate it into russian, remember he had a
>similar problem, and describe his solution.
Which language?


Beware "We should", extend a hand to "How do I"...
	-- Alan Cox on /.

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