As of Ubuntu 5.10, language-specific add-ons fall into two categories. language-pack-*, which provides gettext translation data, and language-support-*, which provides "everything else" (including non-gettext translation data). We want to make this distinction more meaningful: have language-pack-* provide all translations, and limit language-support-* to input aids (spell checking, thesauri, input methods, etc.).


In e.g. a German installation without network, the user will get a German desktop by default, but won't have a German translation for Firefox and This is confusing and inconvenient for new users, since it is not immediately clear that the fix for this is to install the "input aids" in the language selector.

Use cases


Intended meaning of the packages:

To implement this, we would need to make the Firefox, Thunderbird, and OpenOffice l10n and help files dependencies of language-pack-*. However, the combination of OO.o l10n+ffox l10n is in the magnitude of 5 MB; OO.o help is in the magnitude of 10 MB. There is no way we could put help files onto the primary CD for more than one or two languages apart from English.

We have pretty good coverage of language-pack-* right now on the install CDs. However, there are no language packs on the live CDs for amd64 and i386 currently, because of space constraints. This will only get worse if language packs grow.

This means that we cannot implement the clean solution of adding these packages as language-pack-* dependencies. However, the following options will mitigate the conflict:

Language selector changes:



The installer merely requires a string change in archive-copier.

The language selector already supports checking for missing packages at startup, so this mechanism can be used for checking for missing packages.

The additional packages that are dependencies of language-support-* but ship translations are:

Sometimes package names have a country specific suffix (denoted by a *). All of them should be installed to support a particular language properly.


A related spec (LanguagePacksCD) proposes adding a separate l10n CD and putting all the translation-related packages on it. This is not an ultimate solution since it does not fit into our "one CD for everything" paradigm, and it contradicts our plan to reduce the number of CDs. However, if the CD is generated and offered for download only, this will allow users with low/no bandwidth to get the packages in some way (freedom toaster, get a friend to burn the CD, etc.)


LanguagePackVsSupport (last edited 2008-08-06 16:19:59 by localhost)