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Some brief notes from the Debconf 8 i18n meeting discussing Translation Debs (tdebs)

People involved

(add yourself if I forgot you):

  • Christian Perrier
  • Neil Williams
  • Joerg Jaspert
  • Mark Hymers
  • Stephen Gran
  • Luk Claes
  • Steve ?McIntyre

  • Jonathan ?McDowell

  • Moray Allan
  • Aurelien Jarno


Various constraints and desirable characteristics were discussed

  • Out-of-band translation updates
  • Only installing useful translations on systems
  • Reducing bandwidth usage
  • Avoiding archive bloat

Discussion noted that "Reducing bandwidth usage" by providing small, individual tdebs per package per architecture and "Avoiding archive bloat" were contradictory. Instead it was suggested that one .tdeb per source package would be provided, including all translations, and that dpkg class support should be added to allow filtering at install time.


  • One tdeb per source package
  • dpkg class support needed; see http://www.dpkg.org/dpkg/Classes (possible uses go way beyond translation, e.g. tagging doc files)

  • Using the class support, .tdebs would be easily splittable into smaller, per language tdebs. This may be considered at stable releases.
  • Translators would be able to use +t[0-9]+ syntax to indicate translation updates (similar to bin-nmu style versioning)
  • Translation-Version: would be used in Packages files to indicate the most up-to-date tdeb instead of having full Package: entries
  • This work is aimed at lenny+2 due to the changes needed in the deb toolchain
  • There needs to be discussion with the dpkg, apt, debian-installer and debhelper people.
  • ftpmaster is happy with the one tdeb per source package and +t[0-9]+ syntax
  • The plan is to meet in Extremedura (post-lenny) to continue the discussion and start the work.

Post-discussion notes

  • For new translations, we'll need some form of source; to be decided (noted by weasel / Ganneff)