Saturday, March 31, 2007

OpenOffice.org Language Pack Revamp

As sent out to some of the OpenOffice.org mailing lists:


At the moment there are a number of issues with the current language packs for OpenOffice.org. Some platforms such as Mac OS X don't have language packs, instead they only have full installsets. The language packs currently have to be built on each platform individually. This means extra compilation time and extra storage on the mirror network since essentially the same localisation data is packaged into a different package for every platform.

I have a proposal for dramatically improving the current situation.

Let's have cross-platform language packs. This will mean that the language packs will be built once, and can then be used on ANY platform. This will save build time, especially when a builder can just use their fastest machine, instead of having to do it once per platform. This will free up developer and builder time, as well as space on the mirror network.

With this change I'm looking at implementing a simple user installation of language packs, similar to what has just been added to OpenOffice.org 2.2 for extensions. This would enable platform integration for the language pack installation. We could possibly go as far as Firefox and deploy language packs in a very similar way to extensions. We could even have the option to install language packs just for one user or for all users of the installation. If the platform supports it, a server deployed location for the language packs should be possible.

This is just an idea, it needs more development before implementation. No implementation testing has been done yet. An initial idea check for daftness has been completed, which is why this mail is going out. I'm looking to see if there are any foreseeable problems with this proposal, and whether there is backing from the whole OpenOffice.org community.
Comments are more than welcome.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

AFAIK some language packs come with their own spell checker component for the language which of course is a C++ and thus platform dependend component. Thus when we want to have platform-independent language packs those can not include spell checker components anymore. Maybe we´d have to split those into spell-checker-extension for language XYZ plus language-pack for language-XYZ than. But this makes it more complicated for the user to locate what he/she must download to have full support for the combination of language and platform in use. This would leave the problem of course that as long as platform A does not build that spell-checker-lang-XYZ-extension it would not be available.

David Fraser said...

It would be nicer if the spell checker extensions could be reasonably written in a cross-platform language like Python :-)

ghh said...

Beyond technical issues, something needs to be done so that the user (presumed nontechnical) can choose to be a polyglot user (in my case 4 and 2 halves...). I used to know how it was done in antiquity (ooo1.x) and now, there is no documentation, no indications in the help, nothing. I don't wonder about user adoption levels.

Maybe you could influence the guys who do that? TIA.

Oh, being a techie as well, I second David Fraser's proposal, with the following addendum, why not suggest Java. It's already needed by ooo, it is (to all intents and purposes) compiled. , and (having done this before), a port of most things from C++ to Java is no really big deal. Developers might benefit from Java's very-late binding...

THank you for your attention.

George Herlin (ghherlin youknowwhat gmail punct com)