The importance of delivering localized Linux

Situation 1:

You go to the supermarket and buy a new PC, you’ll find that the installed copy of Windows is perfectly localized in your language by default.

Situation 2:

You go to the Apple store and buy a new MAC, you’ll find that the installed copy of MAC OS is perfectly localized in your language by default.

Situation 3:

You download a copy of Ubuntu, burn it and boot it, select your language and… find that half of the system is in English and only a few things are in your language (this happens for Italian, maybe things can be worst with other languages).

What I want to say it’s quite obvious, if Linux vendors want to penetrate the newbies market, they must provide fully localized ISO images, there are no excuses. This is my point of view.

A lot of time ago, when I entered the UCK team, I wanted to build an ISO localization team, to build and deliver a full set of Ubuntu localized images. That part of the UCK project never came to life because of some problems but I still believe in its importance. Ubuntu team seemed to be quite regardless of this problem and our solution.

We (CreaLabs) continue to build and deliver the Ubuntu Italian ISO and I know there are a few other similar projects around the world but the point is that these kind of initiatives should become more officially endorsed by Ubuntu (or any other distro, problem is the same).

I talked a few time with the Ubuntu Italian Community but in all these years no page of the site links to our ISO image. Well… I’ve to say I’m a bit sad about that ’cause this seems to mean something like “we don’t care about that”.

Now, critics apart what can/should we do? If you agree with my point of view contact your distro (many of them have localized communities) and make them read this post, we just need to talk about the problem and we’ll find how to solve it. Having a fully localized Linux delivering infrastructure can only bring more users to our beloved OS.

7 thoughts on “The importance of delivering localized Linux

  1. David Bowen

    Much the same with Thai support, Half the menu was in English. I guess it will help my niece to learn English.

  2. geirendre

    Totally agree with you. Same situation here in Norway,
    many distroes Ubuntu included has a lot to do with regards
    to localisation and translation of apps and the distro itself.
    –If only the “language-pack” could have been a system-wide
    package that took care of all of that, it would have made it much
    easyer for the different distroes to be multilingual then.– (IMHO)

    Happy New Year. :-)

  3. Alexis

    Yes.. Why not if a good repartition of mirrors servers is possible and if ubuntu/kubuntu’s locales websites are more structured each others…
    You can also add your idea in the ubuntu launchpad…

  4. Chris Lees

    I downloaded a copy of Ubuntu, expecting it to be fully translated into English. Everything was translated to English except the name! So it’s not only non-English translations that are incomplete :-)

  5. Donna Macrae

    Hi Fabrizio

    I am doing post production paperwork for a BBC documentary. Their paperwork was built on P4A and has a .zso suffix.
    They say this wont work on a Mac or Windows Vista
    I work on a mac
    Is there a way around this?
    A file converter?

    Any help appreciated
    as buying a new PC whihc will have Vista installed wont help ( my first thought was to buy a small PC)
    I work on an iMac 9,1 ( only 7 months old)
    with OS X 10.5.6


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