[Ambassadors] Live CD & Localization (was: What Fedora makes sucking for me - or why I am NOT Fedora)

Jeroen van Meeuwen kanarip at kanarip.com
Tue Dec 9 11:29:18 UTC 2008

Robert Scheck wrote:
> Oh, we've the Live CD for a long time now. Did anybody use that medium on a
> slower, older computer? Surely not. Otherwise you would have noticed, that
> the Live CD is very slow there. The USB stick/variant may be fast, but the
> CD which we're now promoting at our download page better and more that the
> installation DVD, is IMHO not a good store sign as it is just slow. It even
> has not a localisation - folks, not the whole world is speaking english,
> just there is America on the worldmap! I know people from fairs, which are
> really frusted by their first try with a Live CD as it was just English.
> Yes, we maybe can create a spin, but these ones, we cannot offer on the FTP
> and HTTP mirrors, because Fedora is already too big. On the other hand, the
> issue of a non-US keyboard layout when trying to generate a localized
> version of the Live medium is still not fixed. There were some tries to
> solve that on LinuxTag 2008, but as far as I know, afterwards nobody again
> cared about and it went down.

As the Spin SIG leader, I feel this is my piece of the pie.

As far as the localization of Live CDs and DVDs is concerned, I cannot 
but wholeheartedly agree;

The Live media is supposed to be the perfect show-case of whatever 
Fedora can do or KDE 4.X foo brings. If that's in English by default, 
that's fine, I'm not saying we should include kde-l10n-* on a LiveCD 
because that simply won't fit.

However, if that supposedly perfect show-case can be in German, Dutch, 
Swahili or you-name-the-language, the better. Localization is one of the 
selling points of Linux in general (because you get a lot of it for no 
mentionable effort -other then selecting your locale and browsing 
through the giant list of available locales), and it's one of the 
selling points of Fedora specifically (transifex, upstream, you know the 
story). And that's besides the difficulty or annoyance people sometimes 
experience when that supposedly perfect show-case is not in their 
favorite language.

In an effort to make these localized LiveCDs maintainable, I've accepted 
every contributor that wanted to create localized extensions of each 
spin concept. I know that Fabian Affolter and Igor Pieres Soares have 
done a good job at creating and maintaining their locales, and I ship 
them in the spin-kickstarts package for everyone to use.

Of course, that's only one small piece of the pie. We would love to 
create the spins on Fedora Infrastructure, or outside of Fedora 
Infrastructure (but that introduces verifiability constraints we're 
unable to get past yet) and have them promoted and distributed by the 
Fedora Project. However, that only stretches so far. There's a limited 
amount of Release Engineering the Fedora Project can do -being Jesse 
Keating, especially around Fedora N GA. In addition, there's a limited 
amount of QA the Fedora Project can do, and since it would be the Fedora 
Project composing, promoting and distributing such localized spin, it 
better be a good one.

Instead of thinking in terms of problems though, I like to think in 
terms of (potential) solutions. One of the solutions I suggested is that 
outside of Release Engineering, the localized spins can be created by 
peers (possibly Spin SIG members, possibly localized Spin maintainers) 
-to offload Release Engineering. It's a standard, pretty 
straight-forward process.

As for the promotion part... Well that's not really a problem, is it? It 
just depends on the composing and distribution parts.

Then in terms of distribution, which is another challenge for the Fedora 
Project, I've suggested we let the seeds for a torrent be the 
responsibility of the Spin maintainers. In practice, that responsibility 
boils down to: No Seeds, No Spin. The Fedora Project however would still 
host the torrent tracker so they have control over revocation and/or 
modification of the spin/torrent.

Since then, the discussion has come to a halt. I guess we were involved 
with other stuff, we didn't see much localization happening yet (as far 
as the kickstart repo is concerned, that is), and we lost interest in 
pursuing it for Fedora 10.

I hope this brings some perspective to the issue of localized live 
media, and I certainly hope this starts up a new discussion around 
including localized versions of spins, one way or the other, in F11.

Kind regards,

Jeroen van Meeuwen

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