Boost logo

Boost :

Subject: Re: [boost] [locale] Review results for Boost.Locale library
From: Marsh Ray (marsh_at_[hidden])
Date: 2011-04-27 14:46:31

On 04/27/2011 11:58 AM, Stewart, Robert wrote:
> Marsh Ray wrote:
>> On 04/27/2011 10:49 AM, Matthew Chambers wrote:
>>> Claims like "non-Western programmers will never use this library"
>>> are out of place on this list.
>> I disagree.
>> It's a relevant data point, even if you don't agree with the
>> reasoning behind it.
> It's a relevant piece of information, but I think the point was that
> there are many non-Western programmers (for some definition of
> "Western") that would use the library. Therefore, a modified form of
> the assertion would have been better: "No Asian programmers I know of
> will ever use this library." That might not be as strong, though,
> unless Ryou also gave scope to the number of Asian programmers he
> knows that would think similarly.

My guess is there's probably not a lot of diversity of opinion there on
this point, at least in Japan.

> Anyway, I think the concern was for the statement's tone and
> hyperbole.

You're talking to a guy who's native language has multiple independent
dimensions in the grammar itself for politeness, respect, and formality.
Just imagine what kind of linguistic jackhammer we sound like to him.
You should probably consider it an honor to be receiving direct
criticism under the circumstances. Or at least you should look harder
for a way to interpret his statements at face value and give him any
possible benefit of the doubt.

I see him saying things like:

On 04/26/2011 08:47 PM, Ryou Ezoe wrote:
> I seriously concerns the author's ability to understand the real world
> situation. This library is not only useless, but also harmful for localization.
> It encourage people to use ASCII.

To someone from a Western alphabetic language... not knowing how to
print characters...sure, this might sound like he was accusing you of
not having graduated first grade.

But in Japan they are studying new characters up through high school in
a regimented, standardized way. The character set you use has a very
well-defined relationship with your level of education, more so even
than your choice of word usage in English.

I think you really don't understand the reality of his requirements.

Within recent memory, systems in Asia used odd mixtures of multi-byte
regional encodings like Shift-JIS. These guys have had a long history of
trying to fit professional-looking text into encodings that were
designed to work better elsewhere. Unicode (in the form of UTF-16) comes
along and surely made everyone's life easier. But still, if the compiler
doesn't handle UTF-8, then the compiler doesn't handle UTF-8. It's that

Yes, it's possible to represent Japanese text in alternate character
sets but it "looks wrong", and in this case the appearance carries
semantic value. This stuff is very difficult for an outsider to get
right - or even appreciate how far wrong they are.

In English text we really have very little to compare with to understand
how this looks. Here's how I imagine it:

* Imagine receiving a resume' from a job applicant printed in block
letters. In crayon.

* Imagine applying to work for a Japanese company, but because you don't
know the proper Japanese characters, you simply format your text like

* Imagine you won a contract to build a sign for a Mexican restaurant,
but you order the wrong letters and use German gothic script lettering:



It seems very reasonable to me that Ryou would be skeptical that such a
library would end up being useful to him. Furthermore, if he uses it
rather than something more established, and his program outputs
something unprofessional, who is that going to reflect on?

Don't get me wrong, I think it would be awesome if you guys were able to
create something that was well-regarded everywhere. But if you make
something to your own requirements, don't act so surprised when not
everyone rushes to use it.

- Marsh

Boost list run by bdawes at, gregod at, cpdaniel at, john at