Pacman Translations

I was listening to Frostcast in the background today when I heard my name. That always makes me pay some attention. Then I heard wrong information. I don’t know why I care, but I do… so here goes the clarification.

The quote from Philip Müller at 14:35 into the podcast:

The lastest news was Allan McRae – he is a developer of pacman himself – he sent me an email to send over all the translations of Manjaro distribution does. So I forked pacman, and pacman itself has 20 translations and our branch has 44 translations of the same software so Arch Linux is asking us to be upstream and give them our translations…

OK… This is interesting. Time for some background here. When pacman-4.1 was released, we removed the broken SyncFirst option. This is needed by Manjaro Linux to run their update helper script that “fixes” the update process to remove any manual interventions. So Manjaro reverted our patch and brought back SyncFirst to pacman. That required three additional strings to be translated for their version of pacman so they also forked our translation project on Transifex.

As the Arch and Manjaro versions of these projects had started to diverge, I wrote to Phil noting that people were doing more than just translating those three additional strings, and it would be good if the translators were pointed at the Arch project so we all benefited, given the Arch project is the one the pacman developers set up.

Lets compare the status of the Arch and Manjaro translations as of 2013-09-24. There are 24 languages with complete translations in the Arch projects, and being nice and ignoring the additional three strings in the Manjaro project, they have 23. (Of those 23, only 6 actually have the additional three Manjaro strings translated). What are the differences? Manjaro has a complete Hungarian translation while Arch has complete Korean and Romanian translations. The Arch Hungarian translation is at 99%, while the Manjaro Korean and Romanian are at 21% and 62% respectively. So it is clear these languages have diverged since the split, with most of the work done in Arch.

Of the remaining languages with incomplete translations, Manjaro has 19 languages, while Arch has 15. Clearly not a total difference of 20 to 44 languages as claimed. Looking at these in more detail, 9 languages have not deviated between the two projects. The Arabic, Chinese (Taiwan), Dutch, Galician, Polish, Serbian (Latin) translations have all got additional translations in the Arch project since the split with the Manjaro project. So apart from languages that have been have had translations started in Manjaro but not in Arch, the Arch project is behind in 3 strings for the Hungarian language.

Maybe where the Arch translation project for pacman could gain is from the new languages in the Manjaro translation: Czech (Czech Republic) [99%], Bulgarian (Bulgaria) [62%], Uzbek [14%] and Danish (Denmark) [3%]. Also note that 3/4 of those languages have a sub-name there. Taking “Danish (Denmark)” as an example, there is already a “Danish” translation (language code: da) and this is adding a Denmark specialization (language code: da_DK). I might be entirely wrong here, but are there other variants of Czech, Bulgarian and Danish apart from their primary usage, or are these exactly the same and the work is just being repeated?

In summary, the translation project set up by the pacman developers is, and will remain, the upstream translation. I just approached Manjaro to send their translations our way so we would both benefit. Arch from (potentially) more translations, and it would be easier for Manjaro to merge their string translations without ending up removing several hundred perfectly good translations.

9 thoughts on “Pacman Translations

  1. I’d be interested in how many patches Manjaro submits back to Arch (pacman or otherwise)? What exactly is the extent of their contribution?

    • As far as Manjaro contributions to pacman go, there is none. Chakra did provide a few patches with they were making a pacman front-end.

      As for direct contributions to Arch, it is difficult to tell. I have no idea who is a Manjaro user contributing a fix on the bug tracker. I have seen one patch to get a module to build with the latest kernel from memory.

  2. There’s only one kind of Danish, so it’s probably just work being repeated.

  3. The same goes for Czech: there’s no other variant than cs_CZ.

  4. It is sad, you both must understand what coopetition minds. Competition and collaboration. I actually use Manjaro because each time I tried to Install arch some selected package was in conflict and there are no way to deselect it except rebooting and restart all again.

    Perhaps if arch – keeping the actual installer as an option – would fork the Manjaro and / or Chakra installers as an option or even make a Live ISO with Multisystem, now at AUR, preinstalled, where you can choose which installer – Manjaro Chakra Arch and even others – you like to use – and send a vote to the servers – the new users preferences for Arch forks will be less or even would make some forks unnecessary or redundant because forking the Manjaro installer and adding an option to delay updates or making a more conservative arch repo probably Manjaro would cease to exist or at least if this would have been done before – with only chakra installer forked – would have not been born

    I also would like to read a real debate Arch vs Manjaro once installed, what is the deal?

    • The issue with adding additional installers to the official archiso is that Arch has to officially support and maintain them into the future. They can just copy the code once and be done with it, and tell users to GTFO if something doesn’t quite work, you’ll only garner ignorant media reporters thinking Arch has made an effort to include a GUI installer which totally failed, as well as a whole lot of user complaints.

  5. Allan this month end and I not se a Interesting links for Setember