"Ultimately we'd like there to be no differences between the
English, Japanese, Chinese and other language versions for the OS,"
says Craig Oda, vice-president of alliances and product marketing,
at TurboLinux Inc., a San Francisco, CA-based Linux distributor
whose version is widely used in Asia. "This is easier said than
done by a good bit."
"Globalization of businesses is fueling the need and desire for
an international Linux. It's not unusual today for company with
headquarters in America to have a subsidiary in Japan and a couple
of offices in Taiwan, and a system administrator who manages the
entire system remotely. "If Linux supported internationalization,
it would be easier to roll out on a global scale," says Oda."
"The basic idea of internationalization (known as i18n among
the initiates) is simple. Write software so it can be used equally
well in any language. The details in realizing this idea can
be mind-bendingly complex. Even countries that use the same
alphabet, for example, have significant differences in everything
from the date format to the delimiter used for thousands in large
numbers. ... No one can work productively in a Tower of Babel.
That's why an international OS has to be multilingual."
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