i18n for bootscripts

Bill Maltby, LFS Organizational bill at nospam.dot
Sat Jan 24 21:37:03 PST 2004

On Fri, 23 Jan 2004, Erika Pacholleck wrote:

> [21.01.2004] Bill Maltby, LFS Organizational <-- :
> > On Wed, 21 Jan 2004, Christoph Berg wrote:
> > > I just got one of my Linux magazines today and there was an article
> > > about how to enable i18n support in bash scripts.
> > ><snip>

> > The nice thing is that if you have an interest, it is not necessary that
> > the project have an active interest. Often a contributor, such as
> > yourself, does a hint, gets some comments from the community,
> > "finalizes" it, and sends it to the hints list where it is posted and
> > available to all.
> >
> > Sometimes the hints are later referenced from the book, or even merged
> > if the applicability seems to be widespread.

I was not going to reply to this because of the perception I had of the
tone of the few lines, and the next group, near the end of your post.

But I let it simmer a couple of days and decided that your personal slam
was misguided, ill-informed, the result of a frustration that all of us
can understand, and should not be a reason to ignore the feelings of a
good person and good LFS contributor.

So in response to your post, I have several things to address. The first
are factual issues. I will post them where it seems appropriate. The
first quote is the following.

You can at least be proud that the organizational leader recognizes that
*you* had a good thought, where all stuff was already present, ready to
use, and this for a long time! All the following questions I have seen
in this thread would not have occurred, if you had a base of i10n.

The first fact is that I spent about 6 hours this morning in the
archives so that I would speak not from only memory, but from verifiable
data. I have attached the results for those who investigate further.
They are only dates, posters, brief note on the topic, URLs and my
comments to myself trying to note items of significance.

I don't recommend them, but they are attached.

The second fact is that I am *not*, repeat, *not* "the organizational
leader", as you stated. I am listed in the Lfs.org team. Nothing more.
No authority or responsibility has been placed upon me. As Gerard asks
me to perform certain functions, I may post in the "corporate" voice,
signifying that I am not just speaking for myself. I try to avoid using
that for stuff that is just my personal activity. I sometimes forget to
switch back to normal "lfsbill".

Sometimes I wish it were not this way. It makes some of my efforts much
more difficult I think. But that is only a guess.

In the thread starting here


which is Gerard Beekmans start of "Let's come right out - who wants in,
who wants out" last summer, are two items of significance to this
discussion. One is your apparent "bailing out of the project, signified
by this.

"> Instead of bickering about the past...

   Very directly said, i18n is out. Neither LFS nor BLFS ever cared
   whether things they do in this area are correct, and meanwhile I
   don't care about it either. It is a waste of (my) time and knowledge.

So at a time when he began making an effort to address the sorts of
problems that contributed to your dissatisfaction, my assessment is that
you walk away. I do not say that is right or wrong, but only that it
seems to have happened. And I *do* understand your feelings - I touch
more on that later in the post.

After that, in that same thread, I offer to help in this fashion.

... generation and documentation of the organizational things ...

In some other thread, Gerard adds me to Lfs.org (I wasn't hunting for
that, so I didn't see it). Check the website. You'll see no mention of
any authority or responsibility for me. Only that I'm a member of the

The third fact is that I also recognized that *you* had good thoughts.

The fourth fact is there was no Lfs.org then, I had no role in the
community other than as another participant, and even if there had been
an Lfs.org and I was part of it, I can and would do nothing more than
what I have done before.

I would make a suggestion. I presume the discussion would occur as is
normal and maybe a bugzilla entry would be generated. All supposition,
though. We know that there were issues about things being left undone and
those issue have not yet been solved (although I believe we do much
better now than before).

The fifth fact is that *I* did not see an offering of your stuff as a
hint (again, I could have missed it; you can image how many posts I
"skimmed" this morning) in my review this morning.

It would have been a simple mail asking for my new docs. But the
organizational leader deceided my work had to be treated as never
existent and you had to invent the wheel again. That's the help, and
that's the "educational value" which Mr. Maltby uses as argument for
just everything.

Yes, "It would have been a simple mail asking for my new docs" and if
I walked on water, I'm sure I would have remembered that your docs
existed (more on that later).

Sixth fact: the "organizational leader" (I presume you meant me again)
did *not* decide your work "had to be treated as never existent and you
had to invent the wheel again". He simply overlooked it. Why?

The last mention of your stuff I found in the archives this morning was
a post: Mon Jul 28 11:44:04 MDT 2003 Dagmar d'Surreal replies to a Dec 2002
thread, refs Erika's i18n stuff and compliments her effort. I forgot to
take the URL of this one, sorry.

Now if you have any mind left open, you will consider: 6 months since I
last saw it; I monitor most lists and necessarily "scan" and note only
things of immediate interest (I can help, I need to do something, I
remember *something* was in the archives so let them know that, ...); I
am technically challenged in many areas (have proclaimed such without
shame many times); am trying to learn what I can; am focused on trying
to contribute as I can; I have real life issues that distract and make
me less effective than I might be (I hope that's what it is, anyway);
the number of posts I see weekly is probably about 90% of all the public
traffic on the lists (there are a couple I don't subscribe too); I have
aggravations on my mind *constantly* about the slow pace of the
organization coming to the point it needs to be to just *start*
seriously addressing many of the problems raised last summer...

I think anyone not speaking from the bitterness of disappointment
*might* tend to conclude that I overlooked something of importance,
rather than I had decided ...

That is the *only* reason I respond to you here. I believe you are a
good person (never gave me reason to feel different), you were a
valuable community participant (until the ruckus last summer when you
apparently decided not to participate as actively as before) and I do
not want you to stay away because you misjudge a situation.

If you choose to stay away for any reason, of course that is your choice
to make. I would only hope that the decision was based on good reasoning
rather than false assumptions.

Last, I would address your statement, "That's the help, and
that's the "educational value" which Mr. Maltby uses as argument for
just everything".

If I read this right, there are several implied accusations here. The
most serious to me is that of "hypocrisy". "Mr. Maltby" focuses on that
aspect of the project for many reasons. Most importantly because "Mr.
Beekmans" states that as one of the primary goals of the project. I have
stated in the past, unwaveringly, and continue to state now that "I
support the project in whatever way I can". This will not change until I
have reason to change. As you may recall, I have stated many times that
there are many areas of which I am ignorant. There are many on these
lists who are not so hampered. They can provide much more effective
support on technical issues than I. But I can support the educational
goals by being alert, trying to remind folks that it is a goal and
helping to resist those who are constantly trying to turn the project to
their own preferences (more automation, more embedded scripts, whatever)
that make the project less educational.

So, yes I do justify a lot with that. It may be I am not qualified to
justify with anything else. That does not cause any ego issues for me.

But the fact that your i18n stuff was not adopted as a hint or
integrated in the book or whatever, does not make a hypocrite of me.
Neither does the fact that I didn't recall it when responding to the
latest post regarding i18n issues.

I searched the archives this morning using a simple "i18n" and "Erika"
combination. 129 hits were returned. I did my best to examine (quickly)
each post in every thread. I was not looking to see if you offered your
stuff as a hint, so I could have missed it. But I did not see you offer
a hint, as LFS normally thinks of a hint.

Anyway, I *guess* the number of posts I examined must have approached 7
or 8 hundred (maybe more?).

Fact: the first ref I saw to your stuff in the archives was 2003-02-13;
the last was 2003-07-28. There were 19 URLs and a few more mentions
without URLs. If this represents the actual posts, your stuff was around
for only 5-1/2 months of the 26(?) months or so that I have been a
participant on this project. And the last mention seems to have been
about 6 months ago.

During those months I've been involved, my brain has been absorbing new
technical information and concepts, along with all the other stuff that
comes across the lists. My brain has been faulty.

Do you really expect that my memory is so good that I will
automatically recall that stuff now, 6 months *after* the latest
*mention*. With all the other stuff that has been going on too?

What percentage of posts I have "scanned" or read does that represent?
Does it even *approach* 1/10 of a percent? Do you really believe that I
would have remembered that stuff without something specific joggling my

Lastly, your bitterness in your apparent disappointment about your hard
work also does not make me a hypocrite.

And that is why I take this time, *only once*, to offer you these things
to consider. I would not waste your time with a second attempt to see
another POV.

And it would not be worth my time.

> Just to make one thing CLEAR: a complete i18n hint WAS PRESENT,
> including[...]

> (And yes, there was even a german text version of the whole stuff.)
> I have put a lot of work into it, discussing in detail how all the

> And what happened?
> This site was linked from various sites which had nothing to do with
> LFS at all - although it was explicitly written with regard to LFS.
> Numerous questions on the lists and my own advertising lead to Seth
> finally referencing it in the FAQ.
> No, it was never accepted as a hint, unless I rewrote it in hint
> format. But later it was completely ok to accept a hint from a guy
> in htm format - due to its complexity!

> There were rumours on another list, complaints about outdated hints,
> and I was already trying to update to what was called plfs at that
> time; trying, the standard answer was, use the stable version of the
> book or read three month of dev list, the script ...
> You know how great it feels, realizing that an LFS system is not able
> to build a new LFS system, in mind that the docs should really by now
> mention new package versions and the meaning of all the deep changes
> for i18n - and then ask myself what the hell I do this for, because in
> an international environment it is obviously completely useless to
> consider correct i10n? Another work worth to be ignored?

Other considerations may be worth mentioning here.

The first is many of us understand *exactly* how you feel. I need only
mention the complaints last summer as demonstration of that. And here I
will offer some thoughts.

As you might remember, issues were raised last summer about many
perceived shortcomings of the project. Among them was "black holes", the
tendency of perfectly good ideas, threads and solutions to simply end up
going nowhere productive.

As part of an attempt to address all those issues, an effort was begun
to "organize". The placement of bodies into readily identifiable
positions happened relatively quickly. And some of the problems began to
show immediate improvement.

But that was just a first step. A much more important and difficult step
was needed: changing the "corporate culture". It may sound pompous, but
is is in fact what is being attempted, even if many of those affected do
not recognize it as such.

As soon as Gerard said that he would try to rectify those problems, it
was a de-facto initiative to accomplish that change. That is because
correcting those problems *requires* that people look at the project,
its people, its users and their own activities in a completely different
way if the problems are to actually be solved.

Some think I overstate things. I think not.

As part of this change, a commitment is required, embodied in the
projects documentation. Those documents have been very slow in
developing, due to several factors, the most significant being the
voluntary nature of the project participants.

Several sets of documents are complete, several are very close to
completion. When published, these will represent the determination of
the projects members to do a quality job in the project.

Until that commitment is publicly stated and "signed on to" by the
various project participants, certain other problems can not be
effectively addressed.

One of those sorts of problems is exemplified by your complaint, what I
term the "black hole" (not my term either, someone else used it first).

This sort of problem arises from the very nature of mailing lists,
manpower limitations, philosophical views about how the project should
operate, the freedom of project team members in certain areas, the
nature of the user community and probably a few other factors that I
overlook here.

It is easily demonstrated by thisi thread, starting Mar 28 20:47:01 MST
2002, in which a reply from Jeroen Suggests adding the link to the book.


AFAICT, no subsequent discussion or action occurred.

The point is that the problem can be addressed once certain
organizational foundations are in place. Exactly what the solution will
be or when it will occur, I can't say. But I can say that when the
opportunity presents itself, it will be addressed, *if* I have any
influence upon it.

The last qualifying clause is just CYA: remember that I am *not* vested
with any authority and am *not* project leadership.

> > If you would feel like developing that hint (assuming the project
> > doesn't see it as a direct part of the book), you can get help with it
> > by posting to a list (mm, I'm not sure which one to use for getting
> > help on development of a hint) with questions or requests for comments.
> I came to LFS because I needed to build my own system and I thought, the
> wheel must not be invented again and again. I wrote my scratches into
> docs because I thought, it might be good thought to provide all
> information to build a fully i10n aware LFS, so it has not to be
> invented again and again. Yes, I really thought my work would be useful.
> But Mr. Maltby, "a long term" watcher of the lists, expressed it already:
> > I think you have a good thought there.
> > If you do decide to do a hint, I'm sure you'll find a lot of help here.
> You can at least be proud that the organizational leader recognizes that
> *you* had a good thought, where all stuff was already present, ready to
> use, and this for a long time! All the following questions I have seen
> in this thread would not have occurred, if you had a base of i10n.
> It would have been a simple mail asking for my new docs. But the
> organizational leader deceided my work had to be treated as never
> existent and you had to invent the wheel again. That's the help, and
> that's the "educational value" which Mr. Maltby uses as argument for
> just everything.

The above was addressed earlier. I hope that the time and effort I've
expended accomplishes two things.

First and most important to me personally, I hope that the implied slurs
upon my character are banished. If not, so be it. I made a rational
effort to expose the truth. No more will be done by me.

Second, I hope that some of the obvious bitterness you display has been
alleviated. By considering your disappointment in the light of
circumstances at the times, considering that attempts are underway to
eventually reduce the frequency of those problems and all other things,
I hope that you can find it in yourself to someday become the active and
generous LFS'er that you were in the past.

> <snip>

> E. Pacholleck
> LFS reg. #111

Bill Maltby,
LFS Organizational
Use fixed above line to mail me direct
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