[Debian-l10n-devel] Removing long descriptions / english from Packages files

Goswin von Brederlow goswin-v-b at web.de
Mon Aug 17 08:00:15 UTC 2009

Joerg Jaspert <joerg at debian.org> writes:

> On 11841 March 1977, Nicolas François wrote:
>>> which should be easy enough to output. When such an output file is
>>> configured, the descriptions should no longer get written to the
>>> Packages files.
>> I'm not sure that will be sufficient, unless the Description-md5 field is
>> added to the Packages file.
>> The system needs a way to detect when a description changes.
> That should be doable.
>>> (Sidenote: Can we PLEASE DROP MD5 when we are going to work on it?)
>> Now, if we want to remove the MD5, we need to introduce another way to map
>> descriptions to actual packages.
>> This could be done with the package's version.
> Think like s/md5/sha256/ or so :)

What happens if the cheksum has no corresponding long description?
Would it be possible to fall back to the description of a similar

>>  * We may also need to decide what should be the user interface when a
>>    description translation is not available. If the English string is
>>    always used, this would probably force to always download the English
>>    translation. Another solution could be to have a default description:
>>    "This long description is not available" translated in the user's
>>    language.
> I guess the latter would be nice. It depends on how good the translators
> of the various languages are.
> If we resort to always downloading english then the user did not win
> that much from this change.

I think the english text should be used when it is downloaded and it
should be downloaded by default. Actualy make it possible to use a
list of languages each falling back to the next if missing.

In chroots I would happily turn of all translation completly and do
without any long descriptions. Total waste of time.

Also make sure tools behave right depending on the actual LANG
setting. A user with LANG=de_DE should get german long descriptions in
apt-cache while LANG=C should give english (allways if available).

>> I do not know if dpkg is impacted (currently the available and status
>> files contain the long descriptions; dpkg -p will output those
>> descriptions, but I'm not sure dpkg would notice if a long description is
>> missing).
> It didnt look like it to me, but maybe.


PS: anyone talked to the cupt maintainer about this?

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