A high level system to manage internationalization in Debian. (At the moment this is only a list of requirements, but we hope to develop something soon).
In a modern operating system, most users expect to get a ready to use system in their own mother tongue. When the user chooses one language, all the system should be prepared to work with this language: translations, fonts, etc. The purpose of this project is to provide a high level system that solves all this problem, so that the user doesn't need to worry about internationalization issues.
Issues to solve
- Define the prefered language(s) only once. The users chooses the language only in one place, and all the programs should be then aware and act properly.
- Visibility. The language selection tools should be easy to find. It should be integrated with main desktop environments and with Debian installer.
- Packages. The user doesn't care about installing packages with translations. When a language is selected, the translations should be automatically installed in the system. Currently a user needs to know that translations for KDE are located in kde-i18n-xx packages, Firefox translations are in mozilla-firefox-locale-xx-xx packages, etc. This doesn't make sense for the user!!
Fonts. Different languages require diferent fonts. When a user selects a language, proper fonts should be automatically installed in the system. The DebianInt team should ensure that the better available fonts for a language are installed in the system and used by all the programs. In addition, at least one font covering all the existing scripts should be included by default, because even if you don't use those scripts in your system, you may find them in a webpage, an email or a document.
- UTF-8. It would be nice if UTF-8 is the default encoding for next Debian release (programs, filesystems, documentation, etc).
Disabling DebianInt. An small group of people may prefer to don't use DebianInt. It should be possible to easily disable it. However, it should be enabled by default, as this is convenient for newbies. People that want to disable it are experienced users for sure.
- The administrator chooses the available languages for the system and the default language. The users may choose a different default language within the list of available languages.
- Relevance. Debian project should be aware of the relevance of internationalization. It should be a core component of Debian, you should get everything working after just choosing your language in the installer.
(Example for readers whose mother tongue is English: imagine that you install Debian and everything is in an strange language for you, for example Chinese. You are even not able to write English characters. Then you need to put a lot of effor to change the system encoding, to install suitable fonts for English, to search the packages with the English translations , to define the language in all the necessary places: environment variable, KDE wizard, amsn menu, etc, etc).
Language specific efforts: