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Language packs and fancy input methods should be available by default
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This is an issue that I found out while discussing with a prospect at LibrePlanet, who needs to be able to type in Korean. I presumed that PureOS, like Ubuntu and Debian, would have language packs and special input methods easily installable (if not already installed by default) but that was not the case. I had to use my Fedora machine to demonstrate the feature working, as I was unable to find any *ko packages (through gnome-software or apt-cache search or apt-get install attempts) that would enable this.

Disk space is cheap these days (especially for OEM preloads), so PureOS should just bundle all locales and input methods by default if the packages themselves are not multi-gigabytes.

Event Timeline

jeff created this task.Apr 15 2017, 20:52
mak added a comment.Apr 17 2017, 19:14

AppStream can handle language packs, but this feature has not been implemented at Debian yet, and I am not even sure whether GNOME Software actually implements it correctly according to the spec :P

But it's something I absolutely want to look into, and it was on my todo list for the Debian 10 release anyway already (obviously, PureOS will have it too then - going through Debian is very useful here since this feature requires a distribution-wide effort of providing AppStream metadata for all language packages in Debian).

jeff added a subscriber: mladen.Apr 17 2017, 19:23

That's the "optimal solution"; in the meantime, if it is not a quick-and-trivial thing to implement in Debian, I would like us to at least have a way to tell users how to install the relevant packages for their locale with one simple command (ie how to figure out the correct package names), in case anybody asks @mladen.pejakovic

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales?

@jeff @mladen.pejakovic did my above suggest help/resolve this issue? If yes, feel free to close the bug.

jeff added a comment.EditedMay 21 2017, 06:54

@zlatan.todoric Well having a command line to give to people is the workaround until we have the real solution: exposing locale packages in GNOME Software and/or allowing gnome-control-center to install them as needed. Low priority given that we have a workaround, but this is is something that would be expected nonetheless to give a good user experience.

The alternative being "don't split the friggin locales debian-style, just leave them per-packages as the original app developers offered them, Fedora-style"

@zlatan.todoric Reconfiguring the locales package only enables _choice(s)_ of language.

To properly support locales for various applications is a different matter, and mey involve installing...

  • application-specific locale addon package
  • spell checking dictionary package
  • thesaurus dictionary package
  • hypenation dictionary package
  • one or more font packages
  • one or more input method packages

Where is the source package selection for the default install of PureOS located? I can take a look at identifying addon packages needed for worldwide coverage (as much as we have it available in Debian), to see how much additional space that would require.

As a sidenote, Spanish-speaking Debian users in South America currently use spanish dictionaries local to Spain. I located few years back an upstream project for latin american dictionaries cleverly kept in sync with the main dictionary for Spain - but have not yet found time to package them for Debian.

for inspiration, have a look at which packages gets pulled in by the Debian package parl-desktop-world. Creation and maintenance of that package revealed buggy naming of some dictionaries and conflicts between others, indicating to me that "full coverage" was perhaps never explored in Debian until then.

jonas.smedegaard triaged this task as Normal priority.Oct 26 2017, 05:31

Just checking if there has been any progress on this issue? It is blocking non technical users pretty much here in France. Especially the lack of internationalization and spell checking in LibreOffice.

Thanks you guys!

mak added a comment.Aug 13 2018, 07:43

@francois Solving this issues is a *tremendous* task. AppStream supports the notion of language packs, but in order for that to be useful, we need to add localization component metadata to a lot of packages and also make adjustments on other GNOME components, and likely GNOME Software as well.
I had a chat with some people from Canonical about this, and we might be looking into this again together. But this will take quite a while to get resolved in PureOS, unless we suddenly get a lot more engineering manpower.

I am currently working on a systemd patch to have locale properly regenerated when a language is changed, which allows dropping a workaround from the installer and - with another patch - makes locale selection in the control center work as well. However, that doesn't touch the "my spellchecker is missing" issue at all yet.

Thanks for the clear explanation @mak . I understand perfectly.

We may find a temporary workaround by explaining to the users how to install their language packs from the terminal with apt (Like LibreOffice internationalization and the different spell checkers).. It could be showing in the users manual.

The command line would e pretty big and difficult to type so is it possible to imagine a simple script to handle it?

I don't mind working on that script if we can have it as an option while waiting for the proper solution.

Let me know what you think!