Avoiding Problems by Avoiding Decisions

George Staikos staikos at kde.org
Thu May 13 15:50:01 BST 2004

   The purpose of the KDE project is to create software, not practice politics 
or take sides in arguments.  It has happened several times in the past that 
we have found ourselves square in the middle of a conflict that we did not 
start, were not particularly involved in, nor did we want to be involved.  It 
happens because we sometimes make decisions that we don't realise are 
conscious decisions until someone points out that they don't agree.  In 
particular, we have in the past made decisions about which locales, countries 
or other such entities exist and what they are known as.  We did not intend 
to cause conflict, but in at least three cases I can think of, we did.  The 
latest is seen here: http://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=80330

   First, I am wondering what the (Macedonian || F.Y.R.O.M) i18n team feels 
would be the correct representation of their country in English.

   Second, I would like to propose a possible solution to this and all future 
such issues which will allow us to justifiably close all related bugs as 
WONTFIX.  I therefore recommend that we accept ISO 3166-1 country names and 
country codes verbatim as per the standard (with adjustments for 
capitalization as apporpriate).  I think ISO is well respected, and the 
source for this standard is based on the UN, which is generally well 
respected.  I'm not claiming it is perfect, but it is I think as good as we 
can do and well respected enough to accept as-is.  You can find a listing 
Along with this, we should accept all future amendments to 3166-1.  It does 
appear to be actively maintained. *

   This only addresses English and French translations of country names.  The 
KDE i18n team will have to come up with its own policy, and I must advise 
that this has to be done with care.  I think that each i18n team should have 
the freedom to name their own country as appropriate in their country, but 
they should accept and translate the rest of the list -verbatim-.  KDE is not 
a public forum for politics.

   Hopefully this won't drag out into one of those monumental debates.  I 
spent some time researching this and I think it's the most neutral (and 
perhaps accurate) approach we can take.

* Bonus: Along with HTML, text, and XML, it's available in Microsoft Access 
2000 format which I'm sure will be useful when Microsoft ports Access 2000 to 
KDE :-)

George Staikos
KDE Developer			http://www.kde.org/
Staikos Computing Services Inc.	http://www.staikos.net/

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