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afterthought i18n and the conservative software culture

afterthought i18n and the conservative software culture

Posted Jun 1, 2006 17:43 UTC (Thu) by rfunk (subscriber, #4054)
In reply to: SQL injection vulnerabilities in PostgreSQL by nim-nim
Parent article: SQL injection vulnerabilities in PostgreSQL

The problem is that the vast majority of Americans don't deal with
anything but English (and Anglicized spellings) in their everyday lives,
so i18n truly is an afterthought. Worse, most of them can't read or
write any other languages either.

As for a conservative software culture, part of it is developers who
don't (have time to?) keep up with current issues, but there's also a
strong culture of backward-compatibility. Enough people have old stuff
that developing for the latest and greatest isn't necessarily a good
idea. The trick is to be able to develop for both old and new at once,
and that's often difficult (requiring even more learning than for just
the new) or impossible.


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afterthought i18n and the conservative software culture

Posted Jun 1, 2006 18:21 UTC (Thu) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

So what ? You don't need to speak other langages to make the effort to learn and understand their technical requirements. Developpers have their software interact with hardware and software with much stranger and complex needs.

The problem is 100% cultural, and I don't mean cultural in the sense americans don't speak other langages, I mean cultural in the sense the software community collectively decided not to tackle some problems. The nationality of the software writer matters very little - they all code from the same textbooks which all present computers as manipulating strings of mono-byte characters. Likewise GUI writers all use the same reference material which assumes screen pixel density is a known stable variable. (Of course the fact a lot of these textbooks are written by people immersed in the american english-only worldview does not help.)

afterthought i18n and the conservative software culture

Posted Jun 2, 2006 21:16 UTC (Fri) by tjc (guest, #137) [Link]

The problem is 100% cultural, and I don't mean cultural in the sense americans don't speak other langages, I mean cultural in the sense the software community collectively decided not to tackle some problems.
It's mostly a motivation problem. The people to whom it matters most are apparently not motivated enough, or insufficient in number, to do something about it. The reason that most free/open source software only supports the ISO-Latin-1 character set is because that's what most developer's use themselves.

Just wanting to be PC isn't very motivating for most people. The same goes for listening to other people bitch about what one ought to be doing with one's free time.

afterthought i18n and the conservative software culture

Posted Jun 3, 2006 8:50 UTC (Sat) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

> Just wanting to be PC isn't very motivating for most people.

I don't see where the PC angle is when it ends up in security bugs (and this is not an isolated case). You're just confirming what I wrote.

afterthought i18n and the conservative software culture

Posted Jun 3, 2006 15:59 UTC (Sat) by tjc (guest, #137) [Link]

Yeah, you're right about the security aspect.

I was referring to the big political war that has dogged Unicode. It got ugly. It probably still is, but I don't seem to care anymore.


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