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Re: locales

From: Tex Texin <texin@progress.com>
Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 19:07:02 -0500
Message-ID: <3BE9CCA6.CF07CDE7@progress.com>
To: "Carl W. Brown" <cbrown@xnetinc.com>
CC: www-international@w3.org
Thanks Carl.

I take this to mean that you are proposing that the language, country,
character set, time zone, and variant, represent 5 orthogonal attributes
which uniquely describe a "locale" and which are sufficient to describe
a user.

I think I would like "variant" to go away, or at least not be required
to meet most needs.
I know it is used for Euro, I am not sure what other general purpose
usages it has.

I wonder if we should add currency to your list of orthogonal values.

Also, I note that language, country, and time zone are not sufficient to
determine which calendar is being used.
Perhaps timezone should be replaced with something representing
calendar+date+time formats and timezone?

I am not sure what to say about possibly "invalid" combinations such as
euro currency and ISO 8859-1 character set (since it doesn't have the
euro symbol)...

Perhaps this leads us to defining locale as a collection of names for
formats associated with basic datatypes-
(text, calendar, currency...)

It then becomes more precise, but less useful as an easy to use
nomenclature...

tex

"Carl W. Brown" wrote:
> 
> Tex,
> 
> In xIUA I use the following format:
> 
>      Format: (no spaces)
>      ll[_CC ][.MM ][@VV][#TT]
> 
>      ll = lang, CC = ctry, MM = charmap, VV = Variant, TT = Time Zone
> 
> For example:
> 
> en_US.iso-5589-1#America/Los_Angeles
> 
> or
> 
> fr_FR.iso-5589-15@EURO#Europe/Paris
> 
> It works well with ICU.  The conversion both ways is very simple and
> straight forward.
> 
> Carl
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Tex Texin [mailto:texin@progress.com]
> > Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2001 11:54 AM
> > To: David_Possin@i2.com
> > Cc: cbrown@xnetinc.com; www-international@w3.org;
> > www-international-request@w3.org
> > Subject: locales
> >
> >
> > David,
> >
> > If you would set up an archived forum, that would be great. It will save
> > me trying to identify which messages are relevant and saving them all on
> > my drive.
> >
> > Mentioning time zones will, I am sure, insure a blast from Carl. (;-) I
> > look forward to it.)
> > One point is that a locale may include more than one zone (e.g. US goes
> > from EST, CST PST) so is ambiguous, and we may go down the trail of the
> > changes to daylight savings time may vary within a locale.
> >
> > A key question for me is which of the many variables for
> > internationalization belong in a locale and which belong in some other
> > structure?
> >
> > Maybe time and calendar should not be a function of locale...
> > Maybe currency should not be.
> >
> > Which variables are best associated with the locale, which with the
> > data, and which with the application?
> > For example, since I develop database products, and I cannot have
> > indexes changing on me, I always include the rules for sorting in the
> > database, with the data.
> >
> > I don't generally worry about hyphenation, I would probably keep rules
> > for that with the application (the choice being influenced but not
> > defined by locale).
> >
> > tex
> >
> >
> >
> > David_Possin@i2.com wrote:
> > >
> > > I would propose to open a discussion forum for locales in the
> > > yahoo.groups like many other globalization people have done for other
> > > issues. It will be tough keeping up to date with all the threads
> > > starting to pop up, and all are extremely important to me and my job.
> > > Here are the issues I have been trying to monitor and even reply to,
> > > adding my 2 cents:
> > >
> > >   1. Locale definition - what is a locale?
> > >   2. Locale identification - how many parameters are needed for a
> > >      default minimal locale description?
> > >   3. Language identification - how can we identify languages that are
> > >      not included in the ISO 639 language group standard? (Current
> > >      locale identifiers use the 2-letter code, not the 3-letter code)
> > >   4. Time zones - There is no standard, the tz database is as close as
> > >      I can get to a standard and it is not officially tied to a
> > >      locale. This only touches the need for a standard global time &
> > >      date display.
> > >   5. Currencies - Locales have only one currency tied to them, and
> > >      European locales still all have their national currencies
> > >      implied.
> > >   6. Euro - The big problem is not the display, but how to use it. The
> > >      EC has strict requirements on how to do currency triangulation
> > >      with the euro. We discovered that rounding problems popped up
> > >      everywhere, especially when using euro precision for calculation
> > >      and had to display the value in a currency without decimals. It
> > >      would be a dream to have this in ICU.
> > >   7. Even when the euro becomes standard for a country, older
> > >      transactions will still have to be working with old currencies
> > >      and/or triangulation. We can't just convert them.
> > >
> > >      This only lists what has been mentioned in the last few days,
> > >      there is much more to be mentioned. I am trying to make PMs,
> > >      Devs, QA, etc globally aware here, but it is very hard to get
> > >      official requirements written up when there are no standards I
> > >      can show as reference.
> > >
> > >      And my biggest proposal is to break the tie between language and
> > >      country when selecting a locale.
> > >
> > >      Dave
> > >
> > >       "Tex Texin" <texin@progress.com>
> > >       Sent by:                                   To:        "Carl W.
> > >       www-international-request@w3.org   Brown" <cbrown@xnetinc.com>
> > >                                                  cc:
> > >       11/07/01 12:15 PM                   www-international@w3.org
> > >                                                  Subject:        Re:
> > >                                          Euro mess (Was: valid
> > >                                          locales ---> was  bilingual
> > >                                          websites
> > >
> > >      Carl,
> > >
> > >      I hope the locales issue doesn't fan out into thousands of other
> > >      threads, I won't be able to track them.
> > >
> > >      With respect to the Euro, there are several different issues.
> > >
> > >      a) Of course the Euro is important and having proper support for
> > >      the
> > >      Euro is required.
> > >
> > >      b) ISO 8859-15 does not seem to be getting much adoption, which
> > >      is a
> > >      good thing. Since 8859-15 and 8859-1 are incompatible, and if you
> > >      adopt
> > >      8859-15 you likely still need to interchange text with users of
> > >      8859-1,
> > >      (as they both support the same languages more or less), the world
> > >      would
> > >      be a very difficult if there was a lot of adoption of -15.
> > >
> > >      Anyone considering -15, should instead be considering Unicode.
> > >
> > >      And there are other alternatives if the only requirement is to
> > >      support
> > >      the Euro character and continue with a single byte codepage.
> > >      Spelling out "Eur" or "Euro" is acceptable if there is space. And
> > >      inventing mechanisms (e.g. escape sequences, or other specialized
> > >      encodings) to print the Euro symbol are also possible.
> > >
> > >      c) The issue relative to locales, is there is no standard
> > >      handling for
> > >      the Euro. So my understanding is some software will change the
> > >      currency
> > >      of their European locales from native monetary units to Euro on
> > >      Jan. 1.
> > >      This may be useful for some, but will likely break many
> > >      applications as
> > >      well.
> > >
> > >      Others will create new locales specific to the Euro and/or
> > >      specific to
> > >      the old native currency. But which nomenclature you use when you
> > >      are
> > >      integrating software with different technologies and different
> > >      locale
> > >      naming conventions is a mystery to me.
> > >
> > >      So now if I say fr_fr I do not know which currency I get and it
> > >      may
> > >      change from Dec 31 2001 to Jan 1 2002.
> > >      If I use an application that integrates technologies with
> > >      different
> > >      rules for locales, it could get very messy.
> > >
> > >      I presume reading monetary data created before 2002 may also be
> > >      interpreted differently after 2002.
> > >
> > >      And minor upgrades of software may in fact invoke these locale
> > >      changes,
> > >      so what should be a minor patch may in fact be a large change to
> > >      monetary handling.
> > >
> > >      d) I don't know why there isn't more of an outcry over this.
> > >      Maybe there
> > >      is a reason the problems I cite in (c) won't happen that I don't
> > >      understand. (I am by no means an expert on the subject. Most of
> > >      my own
> > >      software has explicit regional settings and doesn't follow the
> > >      locale
> > >      model.) It will be interesting to know what people find if they
> > >      change
> > >      their system clock to 2002 and do some application testing.
> > >
> > >      hth
> > >      tex
> > >
> > >      "Carl W. Brown" wrote:
> > >      >
> > >      > Tex,
> > >      >
> > >      > I wonder why no one seems to care about the Euro?  Are sites
> > >      going to
> > >      > continue to use iso-5589-1?  How many browsers and systems
> > >      support
> > >      > iso-5589-15?
> > >      >
> > >      > Carl
> > >      >
> > >      > > -----Original Message-----
> > >      > > From: www-international-request@w3.org
> > >      > > [mailto:www-international-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of Tex
> > >      Texin
> > >      > > Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2001 7:42 PM
> > >      > > To: Martin Duerst
> > >      > > Cc: David_Possin@i2.com; Karl Ove Hufthammer;
> > >      www-international@w3.org
> > >      > > Subject: Re: valid locales ---> was Re: bilingual websites
> > >      > >
> > >      > >
> > >      > > Martin,
> > >      > >
> > >      > > You mean I can't just grouse and take potshots from the
> > >      sidelines? ;-)
> > >      > >
> > >      > > Well, I have not seen an alternative proposed and I don't
> > >      have one at
> > >      > > the ready, but I don't mind taking a shot at improving the
> > >      current
> > >      > > situation. However, I am crunching now thru the end of the
> > >      year, so I
> > >      > > will give it a go in the new year.
> > >      > > In the meantime, I would be happy to collect both suggestions
> > >      for
> > >      > > requirements and suggestions for solutions on this list or
> > >      privately.
> > >      > >
> > >      > > The new year should be interesting, as the switch to the new
> > >      Euro
> > >      > > currency will demonstrate some of the chaos with locales.
> > >      > >
> > >      > > tex
> > >      > >
> > >      > > Martin Duerst wrote:
> > >      > > >
> > >      > > > Tex - Could you write up (short), or point to, any proposal
> > >      > > > for how to do better than currently?
> > >      > > >
> > >      > > > Regards,  Martin.
> > >      > > >
> > >      > > > At 14:57 01/10/31 -0500, Tex Texin wrote:
> > >      > > > >David,
> > >      > > > >
> > >      > > > >FWIW, I thoroughly agree that locales as we currently
> > >      define and
> > >      > > > >implement them, do not work.
> > >      > > > >As a naming convention it is inadequate, and when you
> > >      select a
> > >      > > name, you
> > >      > > > >are not sure what behavior you will get.
> > >      > > > >
> > >      > > > >I have mentioned this before, and the response is always
> > >      "Yes, it's
> > >      > > > >broken, but it is the best we have at the moment.".
> > >      > > > >
> > >      > > > >It is rather unfortunate that we have this methodology
> > >      therefore, and
> > >      > > > >that it is accepted, since it won't be fixed as long as
> > >      this response
> > >      > > > >continues.
> > >      > > > >
> > >      > > > >tex
> > >      > > > >
> > >      > > > >--
> > >      > > >
> > >      >-------------------------------------------------------------
> > >      > > > >Tex Texin                    Director, International
> > >      Business
> > >      > > > >mailto:Texin@Progress.com    Tel: +1-781-280-4271
> > >      > > > >the Progress Company         Fax: +1-781-280-4655
> > >      > > >
> > >      >-------------------------------------------------------------
> > >      > >
> > >      > > --
> > >      > > -------------------------------------------------------------
> > >      > > Tex Texin                    Director, International Business
> > >      > > mailto:Texin@Progress.com    Tel: +1-781-280-4271
> > >      > > the Progress Company         Fax: +1-781-280-4655
> > >      > > -------------------------------------------------------------
> > >      > >
> > >
> > >      --
> > >      -------------------------------------------------------------
> > >      Tex Texin                    Director, International Business
> > >      mailto:Texin@Progress.com    Tel: +1-781-280-4271
> > >      the Progress Company         Fax: +1-781-280-4655
> > >      -------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > --
> > -------------------------------------------------------------
> > Tex Texin                    Director, International Business
> > mailto:Texin@Progress.com    Tel: +1-781-280-4271
> > the Progress Company         Fax: +1-781-280-4655
> > -------------------------------------------------------------
> > "When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the
> > one I've never tried before."- -Mae West

-- 
-------------------------------------------------------------
Tex Texin                    Director, International Business
mailto:Texin@Progress.com    Tel: +1-781-280-4271
the Progress Company         Fax: +1-781-280-4655
-------------------------------------------------------------
"When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the
one I've never tried before."- -Mae West
Received on Wednesday, 7 November 2001 19:07:05 GMT

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