Making your own LIP?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/10/22 19:28 -04:00, original URI:

Reader Charles Bocock asks:

Is there any way for developers to build and distribute their own LIP or MUI for Windows XP?

This is a commonly asked question, believe it or not. And it certainly fits in with the whole opening it all up and getting out of the way that I have been so involved with over the last few years.

There is nothing available at present for this. And one of the reasons I like to announce Language Interface Packs when they are made available is that the effort they have ti make to accomplish this work is significant, and quite impressive in many important ways (I hope to be working with some people to be able to tell some of the tales about this effort -- not too many villains, but lots of heroes!).

To get back to the original question posed by Charles, on the whole I don't think the market for developers specifically will be all that huge, though the number of people would be greater who are either not developers or who are developers but who also fit in the kind of group that would find this scenario compelling -- governments, universities, language enthusiasts, font and keyboard designers, localizers, and so on.

Which is not knocking software developers at all, it is just that the talents are very different. One of the significant issues to work out how the most common cases involving multiple people would work out -- how to make sure that the customers who would want to do such work would be able to see a tool or suite of tools that would them to be productive and which would leverage their talents without enforcing too high of a bar in terms of other issues....

But there are people trying to work through these types of scenarios, which really do represent a natural evolutionary step after MSKLC, MS Locale Builder, and other efforts (including many tools over on the Typography side). You know, trying to figure out what makes sense, what would be covered, and what the experience of a "localization team" (for lack of a better term) would be with such a tool, or kit, or collection of tools.

All in all, an excellent question as usual. :-)


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Charles Bocock on 23 Oct 2006 10:35 AM:

Thanks again for your reply Michael.

I used the word "developers" in my question as I realise there are no tools available for the task right now, and I wondered if it was actually at all possible - if any of the required file formats are out there, and whether it would even be possible to build the replacement files - or if they are digitally signed in some way that would stop a third party being able to deploy their own custom LIPs.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend developers being the ones to actual produce all the localized content, as a lot of the developers I've met aren't fond of writing anything that isn't in code :)

Michael S. Kaplan on 23 Oct 2006 10:59 AM:

There is system file protection that would block a lot of the efforts there and no real roadmap to what strings are where, so on the whole it is not a very localization-friendly project in its current form....

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