Fedora, Linux

New Anaconda doesn’t get fully localized

When I installed Fedora 18, I noticed that Anaconda didn’t get fully localized after I chose the Czech language on the first screen. Yes, Anaconda interface switched to Czech, but localization is not only translations, it’s also keyboard layout, time/date formats, currency,… What really bugged me here was that Anaconda kept the default US keyboard layout instead of switching to the one that is default for Czech (Czech Republic). Why do I think Anaconda should use localized keyboard layout?

  • That’s what users expect in my experience. Normal users expect to get a fully localized environment when they choose language/country. They don’t want to set translations, keyboard layout, formats etc. separately.
  • Most, maybe all other system installers I have used get fully localized after the language is chosen. That’s one of the reasons users expect this behavior.
  • The new Anaconda doesn’t ask you to choose a keyboard layout, so if you don’t pay attention to it, you may end up with something you don’t want. Yes, the hub shows what layout is set up, but users don’t read, especially text that is gray.
  • Even if users are oriented and pay attention to the keyboard layout, it’s still one more unnecessary step for them. IMO there are much more users that use both localized environment and localized keyboard layout than users that use localized environment and the default US layout. The process should always be easiest for the majority of users.

I found a bug in Red Hat bugzilla where all the arguments are pretty much stated. But I’m not sure if anything is going to change. Yes, it’s a minor bug especially compared to huge usability flaws in Anaconda partitioning, but it’s such details that make the big picture of Fedora user experience and we should not give up on them.

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6 thoughts on “New Anaconda doesn’t get fully localized

  1. I am not sure if this is a minor bug: if the user types in a password with the wrong layout he will end up with an unknown password. He would have to check the default US layout on the internet and carefully decipher which keys he pressed to know the actual password to his user account.

    Even worse, if he does not keep this in mind the access to the machine is not given anymore after changing the keyboard layout.

    So no, I am not sure if that is only a minor bug.

  2. Well yeah the whole Keyboard Layout issue is a pain to most users.

    For me its not a massive issue as I use UK Keyboard Layout but others may use Dvorak keyboards and much more obscure keyboards and mess up with some of the settings if the keyboard localization is not fully integrated.

    Obviously we need Anaconda to set the Keyboard as soon as it is chosen instead of keeping it as its US Defaults and causing some minor or some times major user irritation.

  3. Here is what Anaconda does if Czech is chosen as language:
    1) Switches GUI to czech translations (with timezones, keyboard layouts and some more things not translated) and selects Czech as a language for the installed system.

    2) Sets locale which is a separate setting. One can e.g. have $LANG set to ‘cs’ and $LC_ALL set to ‘en_US.UTF-8’. But Anaconda sets it to ‘cs_CZ.UTF-8’ as expected.

    3) Appends ‘cz’ to the list of layouts used during installation and in the installed system as well as it configures “Alt+Shift” as layout switching combination. As I’ve tried to explain in the bug you are referencing the reason why the ‘us’ layout is not simply replaced by ‘cz’ layout is that we don’t want to change current layout without user knowing about it. Because one can use keyboard already on the first screen and it would be confusing if the keyboard behaviour changed without any indication.

    4) Preselects timezone to Europe/Prague.

    “””
    The new Anaconda doesn’t ask you to choose a keyboard layout, so if you don’t pay attention to it, you may end up with something you don’t want.
    “””
    I’m sorry, but if somebody doesn’t pay attention to OS installation, I’m affraid I can hardly do anything for him/her.

    But as I’ve already said and written many times it would be a simple change in the code. The problem here is, that we have only speculations about what people prefer. I myself (and I’m sure there are many such people) would not like an installer that changes keyboard layout without letting me know about it and giving me a way to choose if it should happen or not. And if we added some dialog or checkbox with such option, we would end up with confused people not understanding what it does and people saying that this checkbox is useless when you can customize keyboard settings later.

    This really looks to me like a good thing for a voting.

    1. 1. It doesn’t solve the problem if the Czech layout is just the second language.

      2. It’s IMHO more confusing now. “Alt+Shift”? How by any chance can a user know this? The goal for software like Anaconda should be working as users expect, not working the way that you have to explain them how it works.

      4. This is exactly how it should work. I choose Czech which means that I most likely live in the Czech Republic and Anaconda goes for Europe/Prague timezone. If it happens it’s not the case because a little portion of Czech-speaking ppl live outside the CR, they can always change it, but it works for most people. I don’t know why it can’t work this way with keyboard layout.

      “I’m sorry, but if somebody doesn’t pay attention to OS installation, I’m affraid I can hardly do anything for him/her.”
      Then in your opinion everything Anaconda team has done with the new installer must be just wrong and it’s broken by design because it’s designed the way that users don’t have to pay attention to everything and don’t have to process through all steps. You actually have to setup very little and do just a few steps to install OS if you don’t have any specific requirements. If you want users to pay attention to everything, then why didn’t you stick with a wizard-like style where users have to go through every step and if they don’t have to set it up, they at least have to confirm it.

      “I myself (and I’m sure there are many such people) would not like an installer that changes keyboard layout without letting me know about it and giving me a way to choose if it should happen or not.”
      That’s because you don’t use a localized keyboard layout because what ppl want to be set up is what they’re going to use. This behavior can hardly piss someone who’s using the US layout because it doesn’t effect him. And a majority of people who use a localized system is using the localized layout, too. I think it’s so obvious that it doesn’t even need a voting, just look at people’s computers (our company is not a good statistical sample 😉 ).

      Voting? I don’t think we have any process for this in Fedora. But I’m for everything that will prove you that the current solution is not good.

      1. ad 2) Alt+Shift is just our default for layout switching. It can be changed on the Keyboard spoke.

        ad 4) The difference between timezone and keyboard layout is that keyboard layout change applies instantly and changes system behaviour.

        ad “GUI design and not going through all steps”)
        The main reason for the GUI layout we have is that it is extensible and it is easy to load additional custom parts to it. And not going through parts you don’t care about? Yes, that’s possible and it’s another advantage of such layout. But it is about things you *don’t care about*. I doubt anybody doesn’t care about keyboard settings.

        ad “what I myself find better”)
        Well, maybe our company is a good statistical sample for Fedora users. I believe having English and localized layout is a common setting of many people. I personally don’t know anybody having just the localized layout. And for the installation it is also very useful to have English layout ready, because there are pieces of system where you simply cannot use national characters. And if you want to have some special characters in the password, it’s almost impossible to write some of them with localized layouts.

        Thus I still think it is not that clear as it may seem.

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