Re: autoconf

Subject: Re: autoconf
From: Joaquin Cuenca (
Date: Sat Jul 22 2000 - 18:22:01 CDT

To me is not only a matter of "to be or not to be" a
standard. Most importantly, with the actual system,
when there is a untranslated string (for instance, a
menu item) you see: TODO. No clue about their meaning
(the original string is *far* more informative than
"TODO", even to a non english reader). And it happens
with all the version (is very hard to have a 100%
translated version of AbiWord).

It makes some options of AbiWord very hard to use
(just imagine yourself walking through your menu
system with a 10% of entries named TODO). The AbiWord
version included with HelixCode shows this effect
nicely. (And I use a relatively well support

So the actual system is BAD to the non-english users.

It's bad, too, for the programmers. I remember a
comment from Martin saying that he was spended three
hours to i18n his first dialog box. I had a similar
experience (when you know what is required to i18n a
dialog box, you *only* have to spend ~10 minutes).

With gettext the time needed to i18n a dialog box is
virtually 0 (just close your strings with _("string")

It's bad, too, for the translators. I've just
finished the spanish translation of AbiWord and Dia.
Dia had many many more messages than AbiWord (each
graphical object has a description...), and Dia didn't
have a previous semi-translated GUI.

Well, it has taken approx. the same time in the two
apps. The AbiWord messages are splitted in several
files (we have the ap_Menu_LabelSet_xx-xx.h,
ap_TB_LabelSet_xx-xx.h and the xx-xx.strings), there
are no facilities to merge an older translation with
the new messages (I have to open the es version of
string, the en version, and find the new strings in

So it's bad to non english users, to the hackers, and
to the translators.

However, it has a clear avantage over gettext.
Currently, it works (with some glitches, but it
works). So I prefer to spend my time in some more
critical features, that actually don't work. But if
somebody else make a working patch I think that it has
to be committed (Do I convinced you, Eric? :)

--- Aaron Lehmann <> wrote:
> > P.S.: Goran, if you want, there is a third
> technology
> > that is used in gnome and not in AbiWord: gettext.
> I
> > (personally) will be very grateful with a working
> > patch to change the actual system with gettext
> (that
> > works in windows...).
> Yeah, gettext would be more standard. I would vote
> for it.
> Aaron Lehmann

Joaquín Cuenca Abela

===== Joaquin Cuenca Abela e-mail:

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