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Internationalization and you


Question: How do I fix the 'wierd' characters when I view a text window in Red Hat Linux 8.0?
Answer: The answer is in the documentation

The Open Source / Free Software development community have been building, and the Red Hat Linux and other major Linux, BSD and 'big-iron' Unix distributions shipping a suite of tools for years. Some of these changes are becomeing visible to the end user. The new features support a global user community with local native language *nix applications. -- here is what you need to know about to ease the transition.

Longer Answer:The "wierd" characters in Red Hat Linux 8.0 are a result of 'I18N' -- Internationalization -- efforts in the global Open Source and Free Software development community. Initially some parts of the end user community in the "Slashdot' geek techie crowd were in an uproar, because 'Red Hat broke stuff again' in Red Hat Linux 8.0 without telling anyone.

This turns out not to be the case. The 'quick fix' is to ask your system administrator to edit /etc/sysconfig/i18n as indicated, and log out and back in. A deeper answer follows:

Really Long Answer:Conspiracy theories aside, this turns out not to be the case. In a 'new install', no problems are present. In an 'upgrade' circumstance or in the case of a user who has not read the release notes.

Here is a copy of 'RELEASE-NOTES-i386' online. A copy is also on your local host at: /usr/share/doc/redhat-release-8.0/. The transition and usage issues are discussed down in the section marked Distribution General Notes. The release notes for the last few preceeding releases are also present, for there are real 'nuggets' of golden tips on what has changed, and how to work more effectively.

Anyway, these files also accompany every installation. There will be 'issues' when instructions are not followed. That section even has as its first notation:
* Red Hat Linux now installs using UTF-8 (Unicode) locales by default in languages other than Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. This has been known to cause various issues: ...
Another common lament is that Adobe Acrobat reader will not run properly -- one fix is to start it from a console thus:
env LANG=C acroread

But I don't want this stuff on my computer, you say. We understand, but many of the really leading edge applications which people are clamouring for at the application X-desktop are developed by the international group of volunteers comprising the 'Open Source / Free Software' development comminuty. It is hardly reasonable to expect these volunteers to design, build, maintain and enhance a product which does not work fully is their local language.


We make this available for non-commercial and individual use. Please respect our copyright, and consider contacting us for all your Open Source and *nix design, architect / systems analysis, and administration needs.


rev 020919 RPH
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Last modified: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 10:40:33 -0500
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