Re: kernel support for non-English user messages

From: Timothy Miller (
Date: Wed Apr 16 2003 - 09:28:31 EST

The Japanese are taught to read and write English as school children.
 They also are taught how to write their own language in Romanji, which
is an adaptation of the Roman alphabet. How much you want to bet that
the Japanese use English when they write error messages? While I
understand the spirit of your statement, despite its technical error,
the spirit of my response is that you could replace "Japanese" with any
other language and get the same effect.

Linus Torvalds isn't the first Finn I've encountered who speaks, reads,
and writes English impeccably.

I've also never met a German who didn't speak English.

When we have Asian vendors from various countries come visit where I
work, even the ones who need a translator speak English better than we
speak their language.

The point of this painfully off-topic rant is that messages being
written in English are a disadvantage for no one since they all already
know English. The messages are also simple enough that anyone
intelligent enough to care what a Linux kernel message MEANS is probably
intelligent enough to at least have an English-to-Whatever dictionary on

I personally have a list of every kernel message I could extract from
the source code of 2.4.20, and I've examined a lot of them. It's a lot
like reading Dr. Seuss. Although some of the words are long, the
vocabulary is incredibly small. A lot of text is abbreviations and
acronyms that you wouldn't translate anyhow!

This isn't an issue of fairness to people who speak other languages.
 It's simply unnecessary and costs us far more than we gain. One of the
things I like about the Linux kernel is that people strive to "do the
right thing", and it's improving all the time. Internationalizing
kernel messages, that shouldn't appear anyhow if we did our jobs right,
would NOT be an improvement.

Mind you, I like to try to be open-minded. Based on my own reasoning, I
see this as being unnecessary, but I can be convinced otherwise. You're
just going to have to come up with a much better reason than what has
been offered by yourself and others in this thread.

Gerrit Huizenga wrote:

>On Fri, 11 Apr 2003 14:40:55 BST, John Bradford wrote:
>>Well, you don't need error codes to make a comprehensive manual, you
>>can just look up the English error message, and get a detailed
>>explaination of it, in any language.
>Can someone hand that man a japanese error message and ask him to
>look it up in a japanese dictionary?
>Walk for a moment in the other language's shoes...
>Mixing metaphores as time flies....
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