Category Archives: Ubuntu

Can’t select my country on the Ubuntu installation map

In 1977 Tal Brody said after winning the Euroleague Basketball cup with Maccabi Tel Aviv as sentence which became quite famous in Israel:

“We are on the map! And we are staying on the map – not only in sports, but in everything.”

I found out through Invar Hovav that there’s a regression in the Ubuntu installation doesn’t believe this is true anymore, as according to lp#905754, you can’t select Israel or its major cities, and instead get suggestions for Gaza and Hebron. This is a regression from past installers when you could at least choose Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Gaza. It used to be hard to pin point each location, but was still possible. This might be part of a bigger problem of selecting close/adjacent cities, but the default behavior in the past was different.

From the technical point of view, the Gaza and Hebron TZ files are weird (tzdata version 2011n-1). Both don’t have info for 2012 daylight saving time (usually start in late March or early April). Hebron switches twice a year to DST, hopefully nothing critical uses this time zone.

$ zdump -v Asia/Hebron | grep 2011
Asia/Hebron Fri Apr 1 10:00:59 2011 UTC = Fri Apr 1 12:00:59 2011 EET isdst=0 gmtoff=7200
Asia/Hebron Fri Apr 1 10:01:00 2011 UTC = Fri Apr 1 13:01:00 2011 EEST isdst=1 gmtoff=10800
Asia/Hebron Sun Jul 31 20:59:59 2011 UTC = Sun Jul 31 23:59:59 2011 EEST isdst=1 gmtoff=10800
Asia/Hebron Sun Jul 31 21:00:00 2011 UTC = Sun Jul 31 23:00:00 2011 EET isdst=0 gmtoff=7200
Asia/Hebron Mon Aug 29 21:59:59 2011 UTC = Mon Aug 29 23:59:59 2011 EET isdst=0 gmtoff=7200
Asia/Hebron Mon Aug 29 22:00:00 2011 UTC = Tue Aug 30 01:00:00 2011 EEST isdst=1 gmtoff=10800
Asia/Hebron Thu Sep 29 23:59:59 2011 UTC = Fri Sep 30 02:59:59 2011 EEST isdst=1 gmtoff=10800
Asia/Hebron Fri Sep 30 00:00:00 2011 UTC = Fri Sep 30 02:00:00 2011 EET isdst=0 gmtoff=7200

And Gaza only have a 3 months daylight saving time, while Israel has 6 and European eastern time has 7 months (all are UTC+2 region).

$ zdump -v Asia/Gaza | grep 2011
Asia/Gaza Sat Apr 2 10:00:59 2011 UTC = Sat Apr 2 12:00:59 2011 EET isdst=0 gmtoff=7200
Asia/Gaza Sat Apr 2 10:01:00 2011 UTC = Sat Apr 2 13:01:00 2011 EEST isdst=1 gmtoff=10800
Asia/Gaza Sun Jul 31 20:59:59 2011 UTC = Sun Jul 31 23:59:59 2011 EEST isdst=1 gmtoff=10800
Asia/Gaza Sun Jul 31 21:00:00 2011 UTC = Sun Jul 31 23:00:00 2011 EET isdst=0 gmtoff=7200

This isn’t a political post, don’t make it into one.


Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, Ubuntu

An RTL issue in Ubuntu’s installation

Earlier this week I saw a request for help from the Israeli community to fix an RTL issue in the Ubuntu installation. Although the request is in Hebrew, the screenshots speak for themselves and show the cropped text on the right side of the screen.

There’s a combination of a few problems:

  1. Some of the text has LTR directionality, probably due to sentences beginning with an English word. This could be worked around by some translation changes or forcing directionality with RLM characters.
  2. The text is aligned to the left. This might be due to the sames reasons above. Maybe it’s also possible to override the alignment of RTL languages regardless of the directionality.
  3. The text is cropped on the left side. Seems that just mirroring the English positions isn’t enough to get good results. (I didn’t check the code to see if that’s actually what is done, but that’s one of the common ways I saw to handle support for RTL programs).

LP bug #798768 was reported a month ago, but it seems to repeat LP bug #560114 reported in April 2010. Any help with these issues will be more than welcome. Of course, I’ll be glad to help in any possible way (sorry, I don’t write code) and I’m sure this also applies to the members of the local community.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ubuntu

64-bit Flash Player

I read today that Adobe re-released its 64-bit Flash player (although a preview version) after a 3 months without supporting Linux 64-bit. Although these are good news, I think I’ll thank Adobe for forcing me into using the free software replacements and stick to them. They might not be perfect, but they are free (as in speech).

I’m using Swfdec on Ubuntu 10.04 & Gnash 0.8.8 on Debian unstable, and I’m quite happy with both. Gnash 0.8.8 and the fix for YouTube was a big issue which had caused me to not selecting it as a flash player in the past, and Swfdec is dead for two years, but still does most of the work (although it works better on Ubuntu than on Debian, no idea why).


Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, Ubuntu

Why ubuntu sucks in keeping the distribution in good shape?

Tomer writes about Why ubuntu sucks in keeping the distribution in good shape?, which is related to posts I wrote at the past about Why does Ubuntu puts Firefox translation in gnome’s language pack ? and The disadvantage of language packs in Ubuntu. I’m not happy seeing these problems happening again and again.


Filed under i18n & l10n, Mozilla, Ubuntu

Working for Free? – Motivations of Participating in Open Source Projects

I’ve been asked to summarize an article by Alexander Hars & Shaosong Ou about motivations of participating in open source projects written in 2000 for a psychology course. It was very interested to see how many things can motivate one to invest in open source.

Although none of the motivators was new to me, I still found the article very interesting. In fact, during the presentation of the article to the class I added my point of view and the reasons I participate in open source. I realized that, although not intentionally, I enjoyed every motivator mentioned in the article, except “selling related products and services”.

It would be quite interesting to have this article done again, as the open source world became bigger and has more payed people working on free software. Any volunteers ?


Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, Fedora, Mozilla,, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu

The disadvantege of language packs in Ubuntu

I’ve encounterd a bug in launchpad about adding a new gnucash translation to the Hebrew language pack. Nothing out of the ordinary excepts that for every upstream translation update you should file a bug to update the language pack.

A new Hebrew tranlation was released in version 2.2.6 as part of the upstream release. In Debian the new translation appeared with the sources, but in Ubuntu, the translation is lost since it’s not in Rosetta.

As I see it, such translations are falling between the chairs, since upstream won’t check the distribution for each translations, and the users don’t check upstream’s changelog for translation changes (and only major translation changes appear on the changelog).

Another issue, the the need for Ubuntu to duplicate translation into Rosseta, although they come only from upstream (like in this case). I seems to me as a waste of time, and something that only creates problems. After such an import you can easy find an old transation ships in parallel to newer sources. What happens if many strings changes in the source ? You get many strings in English…


Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, i18n & l10n, QA stuff, Ubuntu

Ubuntu’s reportbug-ng sends bug reports to Debian’s BTS

I checked the Debian firefox bugs page and noticed a new bug was reported against firefox. Checking the bug report showed the bug is new as it reported against version 3.0b5. As there’s now firefox package in debian testing/unstable that was weired enough.

Reading the bug report revealed these details:

Package: firefox
Version: 3.0~b5+nobinonly-0ubuntu3


Debian Release: lenny/sid
500 hardy-updates
500 hardy-security
500 hardy

I mailed the user to see why does he reports Ubuntu’s bugs to Debian. He replied that he’s using the reportbug-ng program and wasn’t aware that his bug have been sent to Debian.

I check the reportbug and reportbug-ng in Ubuntu and found that reportbug has the needed patch for Ubuntu:

diff -pruN 3.39/reportbug.conf 3.39ubuntu3/reportbug.conf
--- 3.39/reportbug.conf 2004-12-06 13:59:04.000000000 +0000
+++ 3.39ubuntu3/reportbug.conf 2007-10-25 07:22:47.000000000 +0100
@@ -6,7 +6,7 @@
# severity normal

# BTS to use
-#bts debian
+bts ubuntu
# See ‘reportbug –bts help’ for a current list of supported BTSes

# Submission address: default is ‘submit’

but since hardy reportbug-ng package in Ubuntu is identical to the one in Debian.

$ rmadison -u ubuntu reportbug-ng
reportbug-ng | 0.2007.10.30~feisty1 | feisty-backports/universe | source, all
reportbug-ng | 0.2007.06.27 | gutsy/universe | source, amd64, i386, powerpc
reportbug-ng | 0.2007.10.30~gutsy1 | gutsy-backports/universe | source, all
reportbug-ng | 0.2007.10.30 | hardy/universe | source, all
reportbug-ng | 0.2008.03.28 | intrepid/universe | source, all

Doing more checks reveals that this is a known problem in Ubuntu and is already reported at Bug #175508. This was also discussed three weeks ago on “Ubuntu Open Week – Reporting Bugs“.

A quick look at the reportbug-ng code makes it clear that reportbug-ng will require more work to support the Ubuntu BTS. There were also some comments about the configuration for Ubuntu in reportbug, as it just send the reports to ubuntu-users mailing list and not to the real BTS at

I’m still not sure what to do about the bug. On one hand, that package originates in Debian, and the bug is probably relevant. On the other hand, the cause might be a change from Ubuntu. In any case, I
don’t see the user following our BTS, and I don’t way to fixed package (if and when created) to propagate to Ubuntu.


Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, QA stuff, Ubuntu

Why does Ubuntu puts Firefox transalation in gnome’s language pack ? (2)

A day after presenting the question, seems like a user got a problem I didn’t thought of. He didn’t like Firefox 3 and decided to install Firefox 2 instead.

The problem is that he now has Firefox 2 and the translation for Firefox 3 (from the GNOME package). Same problem occurs with the Hebrew interface… The solution is to manually delete the Firefox 3 files, and than install the mozilla-firefox-locale-he-il package.

Don’t forget that this should be done on every update of the language-pack-gnome-he-base package (or any other language than Hebrew)! So who’s in favor of splitting the Firefox 3 translation to another package ?


Filed under i18n & l10n, Mozilla, Ubuntu

Why does Ubuntu puts Firefox transalation in gnome’s language pack ?

The other day, Tomer from Mozilla Israel contacted me to update me that the Israeli Ubuntu community changes the Firefox translation and doesn’t contribute the changes back. We sorted out the translation process with the Ubuntu people who were very open for comments.

After that, Tomer mentioned he sees the changed translation in Hardy. I searched for the mozilla-firefox-locale-he-il with the right version, but it seems that package is still for Firefox 2.

I checked the firefox-3.0 package itself to make sure the translations aren’t there, and indeed it only contains the en_US locale. Tomer told me he still sees the Hebrew translation but “dpkg -l | grep firefox” doesn’t give up any other related packages.

Tomer started to search his file system for the missing files, and I started to check out packages’ contents trough (well, I don’t run Ubuntu…). The files were found, and it seems they are part of the language-pack-gnome-he-base package.

This sound very odd to me:

  1. Why link between GNOME and Firefox? (and while doing so, leaving out Tunderbird)
  2. What about people running Kubuntu? They probably won’t have GNOME installed.
  3. The package description says that it doesn’t include the Mozilla translations:

    Please note that you should install language-support-he to get full support for this language (spell checkers, OpenOffice and Mozilla locale packages, etc.).

  4. This change creates an broken upgrade path so it doesn’t support people upgrading from Firefox 2 to Firefox 3 in Ubuntu keeping their locale, as the firefox locale package doesn’t get updated, and doesn’t pull the new package.
  5. These packages were introduced about 1 week before the Hardy release. I would expect such a change be done in an earlier stage of the release…

I thought about starting to report bugs about a few of these issues, but it would be better to first hear what other people think about this.


Filed under i18n & l10n, Mozilla, Ubuntu

Ubuntu and the lack of Thunderbird Hebrew localization

Almost a year ago Ubuntu uploaded thunderbird-locales for Thunderbird As the Hebrew localization wasn’t ready then, they dropped the hebrew l10n package & files.

During the last year Mozilla released more localizations for Thunderbird, but it doesn’t seem Ubuntu updated their package since the initial upload. In the same period Debian (thanks to Daniel Baumann) has added 5 more languages (some are unofficial localizations), including Hebrew.

The Israeli Mozilla team is quite annoyed by Ubuntu users which (rightfully) want a “native” support for Hebrew as opposed to installing the xpi file themselves. Same for users which upgrade from feisty to newer versions and discover the support isn’t available any more.

Officially, the bug report is open for 3 weeks. But like Tomer, I do too remember an older report about this issue. I do hope to see the issue solved, as I’m (as a member of the debian-hebrew team) also getting questions about the package.

So, Ubuntu people – please help us get the long waited Hebrew localization for Thunderbird…


Filed under i18n & l10n, Mozilla, Ubuntu