NOTE: This documentation section is outdated and needs to be revised.
Facing this internationalization effort, a few users expressed their concerns. Some of these doubts are presented and discussed, here.
Some languages are not spoken by a very large number of people, so people speaking them sometimes consider that there may not be all that much demand such versions of free software packages. Moreover, many people being into computers, in some countries, generally seem to prefer English versions of their software.
On the other end, people might enjoy their own language a lot, and be very motivated at providing to themselves the pleasure of having their beloved free software speaking their mother tongue. They do themselves a personal favor, and do not pay that much attention to the number of people benefiting of their work.
Other users are shy to push forward their own language, seeing in this some kind of misplaced propaganda. Someone thought there must be some users of the language over the networks pestering other people with it.
But any spoken language is worth localization, because there are people behind the language for whom the language is important and dear to their hearts.
The biggest problem is to find the right translations so that everybody can understand the messages. Translations are usually a little odd. Some people get used to English, to the extent they may find translations into their own language “rather pushy, obnoxious and sometimes even hilarious.” As a French speaking man, I have the experience of those instruction manuals for goods, so poorly translated in French in Korea or Taiwan…
The fact is that we sometimes have to create a kind of national computer culture, and this is not easy without the collaboration of many people liking their mother tongue. This is why translations are better achieved by people knowing and loving their own language, and ready to work together at improving the results they obtain.
Dependencies over the GPL or LGPL
Some people wonder if using GNU
gettext necessarily brings their
package under the protective wing of the GNU General Public License or
the GNU Lesser General Public License, when they do not want to make
their program free, or want other kinds of freedom. The simplest
answer is “normally not”.
gettext-runtime part of GNU
gettext, i.e. the
libintl, is covered by the GNU Lesser General Public
gettext-tools part of GNU
gettext, i.e. the
rest of the GNU
gettext package, is covered by the GNU General
The mere marking of localizable strings in a package, or conditional
inclusion of a few lines for initialization, is not really including
GPL’ed or LGPL’ed code. However, since the localization routines in
libintl are under the LGPL, the LGPL needs to be considered.
It gives the right to distribute the complete unmodified source of
libintl even with non-free programs. It also gives the right
libintl as a shared library, even for non-free programs.
But it gives the right to use
libintl as a static library or
libintl into another library only to free