Improvements in mintLocale
by clem 40

We got a lot of feedback on mintLocale. Many bugs were fixed and new ideas were implemented. Here’s a brief overview of what you’ll see in Linux Mint 17.1.

The user interface was redesigned. We wanted to show more information but in a simpler way.

Screenshot from 2014-10-23 22:53:16

Locale selection is now split between “Language” and “Region”. This is important for people who leave abroad but like to stick to their mother tongue. In terms of locale settings, “Language” corresponds to LANG and LC_TIME, whereas the “Region” selection sets LC_NUMERIC, LC_MONETARY, LC_PAPER, LC_NAME, LC_ADDRESS, LC_TELEPHONE, LC_MEASUREMENT and LC_IDENTIFICATION.

Input methods are now also supported. This is important to people who want to write Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and a few other languages which require characters or symbols which aren’t present on the keyboard. MintLocale now lets you choose your input method and quickly add support for them. It also tells you if required components are missing (typically if you’re missing a package for things to work correctly).

Now… nobody in the dev. team is actually using input methods… so if this important to you, please get in touch with us (irc.spotchat.org #linuxmint-dev) and give us as much feedback as possible.

From what we understood, IBus has been the dominant IM for years and Fcitx is getting really popular at the moment. We decided to support IBus, Fcitx, SCIM and UIM so far. If you’re using another IM please tell us which one, for which language and why ;)

Last but not least, you don’t need to wait for Linux Mint 17.1 to play with this new version of mintLocale. Don’t hesitate to grab the deb package for it at https://github.com/linuxmint/mintlocale/releases/download/1.2.1/mintlocale_1.2.1_all.deb and tell us what you think.

40 thoughts on “Improvements in mintLocale

  1. rik-shaw Oct 23,2014 22:10

    Thank you thank you thank you (primarily for IM ibus support)! Will be downloading as soon as possible and giving feedback. I wonder if ibus keyboard support is now integrated with Cinnamon settings or maybe this is still pending?

    • clem Oct 24,2014 07:55

      Hi,

      No it isn’t. It was planned for 2.4 pre-Qiana. After the release of Linux Mint 17 though, feedback told us fcitx was getting more and more popular. That’s a sign that we shouldn’t get tied with one particular IM but rather that we should detect whether any of them are being used and delegate responsibility to them. At the very least it meant putting our plans on a shelf and waiting to see how things were going.

      So far Cinnamon is just as it was in 2.2 in that respect.

      • rik-shaw Oct 27,2014 18:45

        @clem thanks for the reply. Regarding integrating ibus (or other input methods) into cinnamon settings keyboard applet, it seems that it could be possible to follow Gnome’s lead here to make it flexible to add multiple methods and you aren’t just tied to 1 or 2. Here is what they do, for example:

        /org/gnome/desktop/input-sources/sources
        [(‘xkb’, ‘us’), (‘ibus’, ‘/usr/share/kmfl/SILEthiopic-1.3.kmn’), (‘ibus’, ‘/usr/share/kmfl/GE.kmn’), (‘xkb’, ‘ara’)]

        So, this dconf value specifies each input method: In the above example, I have 2 standard “xkb” keyboards and 2 “ibus” keyboards.

        more at https://github.com/linuxmint/Cinnamon/issues/2845

        Anyway, it seems we are on the road: I would guess that possibly Gnome-Shell has fcitx support as well, maybe even gcin? Point is it should be possible to have it all integrated in this one spot?

        • clem Oct 28,2014 11:47

          Yes. Either we detect the system not using XIM and hide configuration (so the user relies on the IM config tool), or we do as you said. Either way I don’t think we’ll have time to do it in this release. There’s a lot of work ahead of us (it’s not just storing the value, it’s also interacting with these IM confs, setting/getting layouts, detecting which one we’re using, integrating all that). When we’re done with all that (hopefully in 2.6 with Mint 17.2) it will look much more polished and it will be more comfortable to use. What mintlocale achieves in Mint 17.1 though is functionality, even though we’ll still have an awkward XIM applet and cinnamon-settings lurking around and not understanding what’s really going on, at least we’ve a tool there which allows the installation of the proper IM and its launch at session start.

  2. mockturtl Oct 23,2014 22:43

    I keep missing you on irc. :D Would it make sense to ship fonts-unfonts-core by default?

    It fixes a long-standing bug[0] in Chrome where Korean characters display all piled on top of each other.

    [0]: https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=82400

  3. Vladimir Oct 23,2014 23:43

    There is no option to install Serbian (Latin) or Serbian (Cyrillic) language any more :(

    • clem Oct 24,2014 07:50

      Hi Vladimir,

      OK, I can see why. The tool only handles .UTF-8 locales at the moment. I added this issue to the roadmap and I’ll try to fix it in the days to come.

  4. Lenç Oct 24,2014 08:14

    Hi there,
    Will all the locales of a language still be present (like English -Australia, -South Africa, etc.)? It’s quite confusing, maybe only the right one could be picked at installation?
    I never really understood if there was a link between these settings (and the choice of language at installaiton) and dictionnaries installed in Firefox or LibreOffice for instance.
    Adding support for languages for programs, in a central way, like here, would be great particularily for basic users!
    But great improvements for 17.1 anyway, congrats!

    • clem Oct 24,2014 08:30

      Yes, they’re there and the right ones are picked at installation time indeed. There’s a link between locales, language packs and dictionaries but it’s quite a loose one :)

      Most things are set up correctly during the installation. This tool is handy to correct a particular setting, add input methods, add languages to switch to (for developers / translators), or for computers where users don’t all speak the same language.

  5. musashi Oct 24,2014 08:49

    Dear Clem,i couldn’t catch you on irc dev chat!
    Is that Linux Mint 17.1 going to change its default CJK fonts(system ui and also the browser) from Droid Sans Fallback to Google Noto(Source Han Sans) 1.001?
    Also, i am translating Tradition Chinese(Hong Kong) for Mint at Launchpad,i hope you can set a translate manage team for it.
    please contact me.

  6. Gabriel Oct 24,2014 10:34

    Hi Clem

    This looks pretty good. I have a few suggestions on the layout which you can use or ignore. :)

    1. The buttons should be situated further to the right to balance the text and not leave lots of empty space on the right side of the window.
    2. The Language, Region and System Locale buttons should be the same height as the remaining buttons (perhaps put the flag to the left side of the text instead of on top?)

    This would provide some more consistency in the appearance. Anyway, these things are a matter of opinion but thought I would bring them up for you to consider.

    Gabriel

    • clem Oct 25,2014 13:25

      Hi Gabriel,

      Thanks for the feedback. I’m not really sure about this (sorry I’m really slow when it comes to style). Also, you probably recognize these widgets from Cinnamon Settings, they’re somewhat homemade and I’d like to see them moved to a new library for Cinnamon and mint tools alike to use them in a consistent manner within the OS.

      Here in particular we’re talking about SectionBg, IndentedHBox, PictureButtonChooser.

      In simple terms, we’re at the stage where we’re starting to use these a lot and where we’re still modifying them as we’re finding out what needs we have for them. Next phase is to factorize them within a dynamic library, and after that we can look at styling.

  7. Steven Liao Oct 24,2014 22:22

    Hi clem,

    ibus seemed to have conflict issues with Firefox after Linux Mint 15 (not 14), and thus I shifted to gcin after LM15.
    Hopefully it can work properly on 17.1.
    fcitx is more for simplified Chinese input and we usually used gcin or ibus for traditional Chinese input.
    I agreed that providing options will be better than integrating a single IM with the system, and hopefully gcin can also be included in the list.
    gcin is lighter and more stable than ibus on currently Linux Mint.

    By the way, I am currently maintaining traditional Chinese translation.
    Colonial launchpad is buggy, slow, and the search function is limited and not allows project-wide search.
    Hope the developer team can consider to build a more user friendly translation platform for translators in the following versions.
    I think it will help increase the speed of translation a lot.
    (And I want to say hi to musashi!)

    Happy to see Linux Mint improving and growing!

    • clem Oct 25,2014 08:28

      Nice. Thanks for the feedback. I’ll look into adding gcin support.

    • musashi Oct 25,2014 11:03

      Million thanks to you, Steven!Your translation is invaluable and it helps a lot!
      As a lazy translator,everytime time i stuck at translating,all i need to do is just using your translation as reference source for Hong Kong Traditional Chinese translation :D
      I agree that the launchpad platform is really slow,editing the PO translation file is much faster.

      • Steven Liao Oct 25,2014 17:55

        I want to thank you too!
        Please let me know if I made any mistake or inconsistent translation.
        Best regards!

  8. clem Oct 25,2014 15:08

    Version 1.2.1 is now available:

    https://github.com/linuxmint/mintlocale/releases/download/1.2.1/mintlocale_1.2.1_all.deb

    Added support for non-UTF8 locales (fixes Serbian)
    Added support for gcin
    Fixed cases where LC_NUMERIC isn’t set or when .pam_environment doesn’t exist

    Note that the new mintlocale is compatible with LMDE if you upgrade im-config from Jessie (be careful to remove fcitx though if you don’t want to use it, as the new fcitx gets default preference in the newer im-config).

  9. Leandro Oct 26,2014 17:54

    Hallo Clem:
    Maybe I’ve found a possible bottleneck?

    In your roadmap you wrote
    “ubiquity: make sure LC_TIME follows language choice, not timezone selection”

    But what if someone is based in e.g. the US and selects a Spanish Keyboard layout OR Spanish system language to write stuff in Spanish with friends etc… will the time then change from e.g. New York time to Madrid time just because of selecting Spanish???? So, do you think what you are planning might not lead to this problem I have described now?

    Leandro

    • clem Oct 26,2014 21:25

      No. Your keyboard selection is separate. And so is your timezone. What I want to change is the default date format (it should follow your language, not your location).

      • Lando Calrissian Oct 27,2014 15:33

        Hi!

        I use Linux Mint 17 Mate edition. I chose English as system language and time zone Stockholm. Now Mate clock applet displays text/date in Swedish. This is probably a bug in Mint. Other Mate distros don’t do this. I suppose this is what you intend to change.

        Apart from that Mint Mate is great. Wish you could restore functionality to Synaptic. Some people use it and there are other programs like Gparted that can also break your system if you don’t know what you are doing.

        • clem Oct 28,2014 11:36

          Yes, that’s it exactly. The date format follows LC_TIME and that should sync with your language, not your timezone selection.

          Synaptic is great and that’s why it’s installed by default. It’s a UI tool though, and thus it’s easily accessible for novice users. Novice users are recommended to be selective with upgrades and mintupdate does a very good job at helping them with that. That’s the reason we remove upgrade features in synaptic. We want people to be able to dist-upgrade (apt-get can do that) but novive users not to be exposed to potentially harmful situations.

          • Arend Nov 3,2014 09:01

            Sorry Clem.

            There is only ONE correct date/time format.

            ISO-8601 !

            This is one of those things where the user should learn and adapt.

            In the 70’s, aircraft navigation consoles initially had qwerty keypads. Apparently this was to complex for the pilots. Thus the keyboards got replaced by abcdefg keypads.

            Guess what. Now my co-pilots scream “What idiot came up with this design ?”,”why not a regular qwerty keyboard ?”.

            It takes 10 seconds to explain the layout of ISO-8601. which in the big scheme is nothing compared to giving in to quirks each individual language has introduced and unwittingly sabotaged a mathematically correct layout.

            Let’s lead towards the correct way, instead of following quirks.

  10. Leandro Oct 26,2014 18:00

    Then, I also have another question:

    Some other people had already asked for this feature in the past, I think:
    How about finally including a feature in Nemo that allows you to get a lot more info about a file in nemo simply by clicking on the file, so that you do not need to right-click and select properties to view file properties?
    It would be much better, if Nemo showed
    file name + file size+ file date last modified + possibly location
    at the bottom of the Nemo window.

    Alternatively, how about showing all these info simply by hovering on a file, just as in MS Windows?

    Leandro

    • clem Oct 26,2014 21:26

      It’s been requested before. I think Dolphin is the best example of this in the Linux world. Within the dev. team there’s also been talks about a plugin system ala Firefox which would let us install all known plugins for Nemo and you enable the ones you like.

    • mtwebster Oct 26,2014 23:34

      You can already enable tooltips in Nemo that will provide all of what you’ve mentioned. Under Edit->Preferences->Preview.

  11. toto Oct 27,2014 17:45

    I had to struggle lot to set the locale in Mint 17 (didn’t had such problems with Mint 15 & 16).

    I got these messages, I have no clue from where this “german from belgium” came from. I had to struggle lot with the command line to set it as I want. For the main user and for the extra users I created, I had to fix it in different ways. I hope that Mint 17.1 !

    Basically, I want my OS in english, my local settings -> same as the country where I am and the keyboard layout of my laptop (looks like all this is possible according to what I see on the screenshot so I guess it will be very good!!)

    perl: warning: Setting locale failed.
    perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings:
    LANGUAGE = (unset),
    LC_ALL = (unset),
    LC_TIME = “de_BE.UTF-8”,
    LC_MONETARY = “de_BE.UTF-8”,
    LC_ADDRESS = “de_BE.UTF-8”,
    LC_TELEPHONE = “de_BE.UTF-8”,
    LC_NAME = “de_BE.UTF-8”,
    LC_MEASUREMENT = “de_BE.UTF-8”,
    LC_IDENTIFICATION = “de_BE.UTF-8”,
    LC_NUMERIC = “de_BE.UTF-8”,
    LC_PAPER = “de_BE.UTF-8”,
    LANG = “en_US.UTF-8”
    are supported and installed on your system.
    perl: warning: Falling back to the standard locale (“C”).
    locale: Cannot set LC_ALL to default locale: No such file or directory
    (Reading database … 176398 files and directories currently installed.)
    Removing profile-sync-daemon (5.47.1-1) …
    Purging configuration files for profile-sync-daemon (5.47.1-1) …
    Processing triggers for man-db (2.6.7.1-1) …
    locale: Cannot set LC_ALL to default locale: No such file or directory

  12. Anand Oct 28,2014 11:03

    Clem, I have been triaging Cinnamon issues and found few feature requests that could perhaps be considered for future improvements by the dev. team…

    1. Remember keyboard input selection per window [#2091 and #2409]
    2. Support for > 4 layouts(unsure if it’s addressed already)[#3146,#3212]
    3. Keyboard layout selection in login / lock screen. [#3483,#3048]

  13. me Oct 29,2014 10:07

    there are nothing to customize more deeply the formats?
    e.g. to override the default “:” in time with “.” (20:30 -> 20.30) or to use “1’000,00” instead of “1.000,00”?

  14. Osamu Aoki Oct 31,2014 11:44

    My take is:
    fcitx is popular with Chinese.
    uim is popular with Japanese.
    ibus is popular with RedHat :-) (I am Debian maintainer of ibus/im-config.)

    Anyway, your good work has landed back in Debian and I am exposed to this Cinnamon on Jessie.

    Currently, Debian starts one of the daemons: ibus/fcitx/uim/none for xim and set the corresponding environment variables while starting the Xsession via the im-config hook script (outside of DE starting system).

    What is your view ahead for the initialization of input method for DE. Should I disable hook script if DDE is cinnamon? (That is possible for jessie+1 coming with post-2.4 Cinnamon.)

  15. BALLOON a.k.a. Fu-sen. Nov 7,2014 11:23

    I know that Maine supports uim in debian jessie. (under the present conditions)

    On the other hand, Ubuntu (and some flavor) supported iBus from 14.04 LTS.
    The use increases Fcitx in Japan.
    This is because dissatisfaction appears one after another for the use of iBus.

    Linux Mint gives plural choices for language support.
    I want to give the evaluation that is good for this.

  16. eyalzek Nov 7,2014 15:46

    Hey, I am using both English and Hebrew on my cinnamon, and I suffer from all kinds of issues while my input method is set to Hebrew;
    chrome keyboard shortcuts do not work, synergy doesn’t really work properly, typing inside a VM mostly doesn’t work (I have to change back to English to accomplish any of these)…

    I have pretty much gotten used to it, the only thing that really bugs me is that cinnamon can’t remember my input method per window. If I’m typing in English in the terminal, but in between having a conversation in Hebrew, changing back and forth a couple of times a minute (or more) can be very annoying.

  17. Thomas Dec 17,2014 08:48

    Why is the date/time put under language? I want it under region, so that the system speaks English but 11 12 means dec 11th. Numbers are regional, date and time are numbers, so it should be under region.

  18. Zah Dec 23,2014 20:51

    Hi,

    This panel takes a little too much to load for me (few seconds) and clicking several times (while waiting) opens many of the same windows. It also doesn’t integrate with the rest of the preferences in the sense that there is no “back to all settings button” and it opens a new window.

    Regards.

  19. Josep Sep 20,2015 17:18

    Hi,

    +1 for Thomas.

    Date/time under region not language, please.

    Best,
    Josep

  20. Luis Jan 15,2016 14:19

    Hi Clem,
    why Date/time under language?
    I want my mint to be in English but want to have other date/time format.

    regards
    Luis

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