Revision 10 as of 2005-11-03 00:10:15

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In order to serve our user communities better, we need to be more responsive and proactive with localisation updates.


Getting locale changes into upstream glibc is unnecessarily hard. The glibc maintainer (correctly) requires proof of the correctness of a change before it's included, but the onus of demonstrating that change falls to the glibc package maintainers. The package maintainers are frequently not qualified to provide this proof, and cannot answer upstreams questions to the needed degree of satisfaction. The glibc upstream maintainer also has a well deserved reputation for being difficult to approach with changes.

In addition, updating locales requires a complete rebuild of the glibc package. This is a very time and resource intensive build just for the sake of arch-indep files.

Use cases

  • A user from an unsupported locale would like to submit his entry. We accept it via Rosetta, and it gets applied during the next lang-pack build.
  • New locales need to be integrated. The locales maintainer merges with lang-pack, and avoids having to force a rebuild of glibc.


  • Locales / Belocs-locales-data(universe) packaging
  • Langpacks: postinst/postrm scripts, additional content (ship locale data)


  • Currently locales come from glibc proper. Implementation will move locale data into lang-packs for easier maintenance, and to allow us to move to belocs-locales, which will provide more up-to-date data.
  • Factor out code from the language pack maintainer scripts to a common package locales.


  1. Remove locales package from glibc build. The locales binary should instead be built from a small separate source package, in order to make fixes and changes easy. The locales-gen, and {install,remove}-language-locales scripts from the old locales package would need to be moved to that separate package. The locales-gen script needs to be modified as noted below.
  2. Completely remove the currently existing debconf question, since it is unnecessary. Locales get installed and removed automatically.
  3. Move the belocs-locales data into language packs build.
  4. language packs ship a file /etc/locales/supported.d/<lang-code> (which is a subset of the former /usr/share/i18n/SUPPORTED file).

  5. language-pack postinst/postrm script just call a common hook provided by the locales package in order to factor out code from the current maintainer scripts. This allows us to hook other actions into the installation process in the future (e. g. desktop file translations).
  6. The common postinst script calls install-language-locales lang-code. The common postrm script calls remove-language-locales lang-code.

Lang-packs would include all of the proper locales for that language (e.g. en_* for English).


  • langpack-o-matic already provides the mechanics for shipping additional data in the language packs. This will be used to ship the locale data.

Data preservation and migration

Belocs-locales seems to want to be a superset of glibc locales, but it appears to be missing several locales that are in glibc proper. If anything is missing from belocs, then the missing part needs to be investigated for inclusion as well. Those missing from belocs are very probably not longer needed for various, justified reasons (countries changing name, ISO 639 code updates...).

Specifically, several locales in Breezy were marked to be removed after the "Sarge" release. These should not be carried forward.

  1. Release Notes: Point out that the user has to manually fix his locales when he manually added locales without the corresponding language packs installed.

BoF agenda and discussion

Attendees generally agreed that having locales in glibc was sub-optimal, and that not being able to get locales merged upstream was just an added difficulty.

Consensus was that moving to lang-packs now, would also enable us move maint of the locale data to Rosetta at a later date (hopefully, dapper+1).

A new spec needs to be created for Rosetta, to plan for the move of locales data.