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[debian-devel:06223] Bcc: Package Descrption I18N Proposal

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AFAIK, there has been discussion on i18n issue of the package
description repeatedly in the past, but never been implemented. And it
seems that there's no active work around this now (correct me if
wrong). So I propose one feasible plan for this.

First, we have to include translated description in each package, then
generate Packages-$LANG, because we cannot always get Packages-$LANG
(we cannot get translated description in doing "dpkg --info" for a new
package without updating the package database, for example). You might
feel difficulty in doing this, but making use of BTS with wishlist
entitled "Include this translation in the package" or something will
help us. Not all the package description have to be translated (it is
somewhat a hard work), and currently even providing a framework for
translated description is valuable.

Then where should the translated description reside? I've only
installed a few files named debian/description.$LANG into
debian/tmp/DEBIAN directory when the package was built, and it works
fine. It may be better dh_installdeb to support these files, but it
doesn't matter now. I've created the simplest example and it can be
available from:


The description files won't installed when the package is installed,
but actually included in the package in a reasonable manner without
any modification to the current packaging system. You can check it
with "dpkg --info" or "dpkg-deb -e".

Thus we can include translated description files in Debian packages
themselves. It is true that we have to make dpkg, dselect and apt to
support these files (installing each translation to a proper location,
displaying proper language by $LANG and so on), but once the packages
with translated description have widely spread, it will not be a big
problem. It is important that we can actually start translation *just
now* (we may have to revise debian-policy to support translated
description files, though).

In the Debian JP Project, all the description for Debian 1.3 packages
are already available and they are used as a part of "Debian Packages"
web page. We are going to catch up with the latest description.

I have no intention to stick to this proposal but to the description
i18n mechanism. Any comments are welcome.

Keita Maehara <maehara@debian.or.jp>

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