deinsultifying gnome - dump the translations, people!


With all the stir caused by recent development release name (that I
shall not name again not to insult someone, let us just remind you that
it referenced some genitalia that usually come in pairs), I began to
think about other potential sources of insults in GNOME and concluded
that the release names were but a minor insult potential. There is much
bigger hazard in all the translations that we have!

You see, GNOME is translated in about a zillion different languages,
with most people using GNOME speaking only one or perhaps two of them.
So, my GNOME user, all those translations that you don't speak might
contain nothing but myriads of insults aimed at you, your race, sex,
your family, your dog, the way you live, your sexual orientation and
anything else in your life you can imagine.

The obvious, philantropic solution is to start an educational campaign,
financed by the GNOME foundation, to have all the GNOME users learn all
the languages that GNOME is translated to, thereby eliminating the
chance of some perverted translator sneaking an insult into GNOME via an
obscure language.

Of course, such a campaign seems unlikely due to its financial and
organisational implications, so I suggest we take a shortcut and simply
_dump all the translations_, thereby eliminating possible insults in

After we dump these, the problem of insults in the default C locale
remains - as the C locale is usually written in English, we could have a
number of purists scrutinize all those C strings and remove potentially
insulting ones. But, as the very term "insulting" is inherently
subjective, these people might skip some strings insulting to some group
of people, achieving nothing at all.

I thought of replacing the C locale with randomly generated strings
bearing no meaning at all, but there is still the problem that one of
these strings might actually be insulting in some language that I don't
speak (let me remind you, we didn't start that eductaional campaign).
Ok, so let's generate random strings without vowels. There are no
insulting words written without wovels, are there? No can do: we might
end up with a Hebrew insult. So what now? Use pictograms? These are
ubiquitously understood, even voyager carries pictograms... the idea
might seem OK, but when you think about it twice, you realize that the
problem of subjectivity of an insult remains. So pictograms are no good.

All this said, the obvious solution is to dump not onyl translations but
_all strings_ and replace them with whitespaces, preferably a single
whitespace or an empty string (otherwise those whitespaces might
constitute an insulting code in the whitespace programming language, see

I know this is no time for such a massive change since string freeze is
in effect and the 2.6 release looming, but I urge you to carefully
consider it for the upcoming GNOME 2.8!

Yours insultingly,

email: jaka gnu org

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