Re: localization, internationalization and Caml

From: skaller (
Date: Tue Oct 26 1999 - 20:02:45 MET DST

Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 04:02:45 +1000
From: skaller <>
To: Benoit Deboursetty <>
Subject: Re: localization, internationalization and Caml

Benoit Deboursetty wrote:
> This message just wants to raise a paradoxical point in this discussion
> [yet it may have already been posted ?]. It seems to me that allowing
> foreign characters to be used in a computer language, as identifiers or
> comments, would reduce the exchange of contributions worldwide.

        Excuse me, but exactly what do you mean by 'foreign' characters?
Do you mean non Chinese characters? What? You aren't Chinese?

> You should understand i sometimes feel i should have written it in
> english.

        I think that, at the moment, English is the 'lingua franca' <grin>
of the Internet. Spoken with an American accent :-)

        However, the Internet is growing fast, and the number
of English speakers will soon enough be a minority. It will probably
remain true that most of the _programmers_ will be able to use English.
> I must however acknowledge that [o']caml 's ability to cope with latin1
> characters is above all useful for educational purpose.

        Yes. I think it is highly laudible that ocaml accepts more than
just plain 'ASCII': many students are more fluent with their native
language (even if they speak some English and/or are learning it),
and being able to program with it will enhance learning.
software that is actually worth sharing internationally is a lesser
obstacle that writing good software in the first place.

> My point remains: encouraging people to write code in their language would
> reduce the possiblities of exchanging their work.

        In my opinion, a programming language should simply
give clients a _choice_. Cultures, people, and circumstances vary.
I don't think programming language designers should be in the
business of encouraging or discouraging use of a particular
language, but rather facilitating the implementation of
the clients own wishes or requirements.

John Skaller,
1/10 Toxteth Rd Glebe NSW 2037 Australia

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