Un-asked-for-language support

Richard Ryniker ryniker at alum.mit.edu
Mon Nov 30 01:06:47 UTC 2009

>Then we have the problem of 'I don't want all this data in my language
>for packages I don't have installed' rather than 'I don't want all this
>data in someone else's language for packages I do have installed'.
>Doesn't seem like a significant win, to me.

Maybe so.  I do not claim there is a physical benefit - less space,
easier installation, whatever - though there might be.  Is it emotionally
less distressing to have unnecessary data in your language instead of
unknown or irrelevant languages?

I am in the "Who cares about another GB, I have hundreds available on my
system disk" camp.  Others, who want to install a minimal system, may
have a legitimate gripe.

In either case (packages contain data for many locales; packages do not
contain locale data, but have a shared dependency on other packages to
provide data for each individual locale), it is possible to consider a
pruning utility that would delete unnecessary data, and perhaps leave
some kind of metadata trace to facillitate re-installation of locale data
when support is needed for a new locale or a new application.  This
sounds complicated.  It could make sense to someone who builds for a very
stable target, such as an embedded system.

If locale data from many packages is moved into a set of locale-specific
packages, there would be a reduction in size and translation effort.  How
many times is a "File not found" message duplicated because hundreds of
packages contain this message, in many languages?  The opportunity to
factor common messages, so there is only one copy shared by many
applications, is appealing.

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