Friday, 4 May 2012

Improved Language Support in Ubuntu 12.04

If you've installed Ubuntu 12.04, one of the first things the newly installed system does is query for full language support.

Now, you will have chosen a default language for text and a keyboard layout during the install process; what pops up at first boot is a further dialog for setting language support with additional languages, setting the default, setting the currency and units of measure.

This dialog has two panes, one for languages and one for locale settings. It is easy to use and implemented well. It is the kind of thing that Windows has tried to do for years and implemented really badly, hiding it away and putting the settings in a confusing set of dialog boxes.

Thereafter, things get even easier. When installing new software through the Software Center, corresponding language support packages (translations, spell check modules particular to that software, help files, and so on) are installed automatically alongside them. You shouldn't need to open "Language Support" after installing new software.

I've often criticised the direction or implementation of interfaces or settings in Ubuntu, but in this case, lessons have been learned, good design applied and implemented with minimal fuss. More like this, please, Canonical. RC