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SubjectRe: Profanity in the Linux Kernel?!?!?
Hi Michael.

>> To put that in context, a friend of mine works for a travel
>> agent, and his first language is Gaelic (the native language of
>> Scotland), but he has learned English in recent years. I showed
>> him your message, and he freely admitted that the latter example
>> message was meaningless to him. However, the former is of a form
>> he is more than used to seeing at work as Windows 98 regularly
>> displays messages of that form, and he thus knows exactly what
>> to do when he sees a message of that form.

> Hehehe... have an english speaking friend of his explain it to
> him :)...

Like he said, he (and most users in my experience) has little interest
in why something happens, and his only interest is in what to do to
fix it once it happens.

I have explained the precice meaning of the latter comment. In reply,
he pointed out to me that when an agent is using the computer, the
customer can also see the screen, and were any such expressions to
appear on the screen at such a time, it would be unlikely to enhance
the company's reputation much.

Since it happens to be an upmarket company, that matters to them, so
even if the relevant applications were available (which they're not),
they wouldn't convert to Linux if there was any possibility of
suchlike occurring.

> I know what to *do* and how to *attempt* to alleviate an 0E
> error (one of Microsoft's MOST POPULAR errors in Windows)...

I thought M$'s most popular form of error was of the "I'm fed up with
behaving, so I'm going to crash and upset you" variety...

> ...but the point is, I want to know WHAT happened, or at least
> something that says in street English what it was or why it
> died.

So do most TECHNICAL minded people, but an operating system is not
just for the technically minded, but for the general public as well.

> Aren't there translations for it, anyway? I mean, it should be
> that hard to have language strings of some sort and be able to
> use it. Even without it, most English language descriptions may
> not have much weight to one who doesn't know English very
> well... I think that it's a loss that could be accepted.

Personally, I'd prefer to see Linux move over to having any error call
a separate module to generate the actual error message, and leave that
module to sort out the precice wording thereof. That way, it could be
dealt with in a similar way to the keyboard map at the moment, with a
language-specific module being loaded as part of the kernel startup,
and all messages would then appear in the selected language.

Given this scenario, the following would be a reasonable base set of
languages:

English
Spanish
BrothelSpeak
Technobabble

However, when I proposed such a system some months back, and offered
to do the necessary, it was turned down by all concerned, apparently
on the basis of the loss of performancee that such a system was
claimed to inevitably suffer from.

> I'm just saying that I like the down to earth type error
> messages. Personally, I hate "Oops 00". That's as bad, IMHO, as
> "Exception 0E at address ..." becuase it doesn't say, "I fucked
> up here." Oops isn't taken as a heavy word... "Fucked up" is.

Like you, I hate "Oops 00" and "Exception 0E at address..." type
messages, but I'm well aware that what suits one person doesn't suit
another, and in some contexts (such as the one quoted above), use of
profane language in even its mildest form is considered totally
unacceptable.

> Actually, do what somebody said earlier and translate this so
> called profane language into it's literal english equivilents,
> and those could be used for a down to earth message to say that
> something's wrong, but put some comic relief with it. :)

Only if every likely user agrees to the use of suchlike language.

Best wishes from Riley.

+----------------------------------------------------------------------+
| There is something frustrating about the quality and speed of Linux |
| development, ie., the quality is too high and the speed is too high, |
| in other words, I can implement this XXXX feature, but I bet someone |
| else has already done so and is just about to release their patch. |
+----------------------------------------------------------------------+
* ftp://ftp.MemAlpha.cx/pub/rhw/Linux
* http://www.MemAlpha.cx/kernel.versions.html

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