Bad Localization Example (Java on OS X)

This is the dialog window that appears when you try to run a Java Applet on Mac OS X 10.5.7 with the last Java update (I’m running Java 1.5.0_19 according to this test).


Take a look at the checkbox:

  • In Italian it’s “l’accesso” (definite article+noun), not “laccesso”. The same error appears in the first label, so I suppose they have some difficulties dealing with apostrophes. This problem was already there before the Java update.
  • Applet’s name and author are gone, replaced by {0} and {1} (this started with the last Java update).

Here’s my questions:

  • Who is to blame for this window? Sun (as I suppose) or Apple? Sure it’s not Mozilla’s fault, since the same thing happens with Safari 4.
  • Is this happening only with the Italian localization of OS X? Are other locales affected as well?
  • How can we try to fix that, since someone will think for sure that this is our (Mozilla localizers) fault?

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I Hate Accesskeys

As usual, before the final release we’re doing a lot of QA work on our localized Firefox builds, and this includes a careful check on accesskeys. There are two different issues with accesskeys:

  • use of a character not available in the label. For example: using “F” as accesskey for “Shiretoko” creates a label “Shiretoko (F)”. This can easily happen if you update the label and forget to correct the corresponding accesskey.
  • duplicated accesskeys (two or more labels with the same scope share the same accesskey).

In the last 24 hours we found two duplicated accesskeys in the Italian build: the first one is quite hidden (you have to check for updates in the Extension manager and then click on the “More information” button), while the second one is located in the main window (Toolbar search). This last issue affects the en-US build (see bug 498840) and probably also other locales.


I think that we should really start to think about accesskeys and how to introduce automated tests.

The first step should be to create a standard naming convention (it’s not even mandatory, but it would make things easier): right now you can find accesskeys named like “label_accesskey”, “labelaccesskey” or “label.accesskey”. At this point, checking for external characters shouldn’t be a problem.

The real challenge would be to find accesskeys conflicts – using different tables to store all the accesskeys with the same scope – in particular in pop-up menus. Have you ever tried to select different parts of a web page (create a selection with images, links, images with links, text, etc.) and check how the context menu change? Doing this kind of checks manually is simply crazy 😉

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Cheers from Geneva

I really hate shooting with compact cameras (noise, small control on the settings, etc.), and this is the only photo that I took with my father’s Canon Ixus 90 IS during the Geneva meetup.

Unfortunately, I already had too much luggage to carry also my usual equipment (see a couple of examples here or here)  😉


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Mozilla Italia & SUMO in Geneva

This is the presentation we did, as Mozilla Italia, during the first great EU Intercommunity Meetup in Geneva.

In the last year I joined several Mozilla meetings – Whistler and Barcelona in 2008, Fosdem and Geneva in 2009 – and I feel that this last one in Geneva had the best format in terms of “productivity”: few people, around 20, with common experiences and problems can really try to identify and solve problems.

I have a lot of things to think about for the next months: localized Litmus (and localized tests) to expand the local QA community, how to reproduce in our site the “tasks” used by the Mozilla Hispano guys to track unfinished or new works, effective ways to involve new contributors (see also the previous post).

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Local communities, always the same faces?

This post will probably end up as a stream of disconnected thoughts more than a well structured analysis, but it’s something that has bothered me for months and it’s quite difficult to choose a starting point and not to get lost in the middle.

The problem is easy: is your local Mozilla community growing? If not, what are you doing to involve new people in the project?

I started contributing to the Italian community at the very beginning of 2004 (the community was just born), trying to help other people as a simple user on the local support forum.  Soon I became a moderator and then an administrator of the forum, after that I started working also on localization: first the integrated Firefox help, then web projects (Mozilla Europe, AMO) and now also software products (Firefox and Fennec).

It’s more than five years of active contribution to the Italian community. Why? Since I liked what Mozilla was (is) giving to me for free – Firebird and Mozilla Suite at that time – I wanted to give something back to the project: since I’m not a programmer but an advanced user, fond of my language, I contributed with support and localization.

If that was possible for me and a lot of the current contributors of the Italian community, why is so difficult to involve new people? Not counting that older contributors can stop helping for different reasons (personal, work, change of priorities), while the number of projects to maintain keeps growing.

Here’s a lot of questions, very few answers.

  • Is this a specific problem of the Italian community? For what I see on the mailing lists (dev.l10n and dev.l10n.web), I don’t recognize a lot of new names, so I’m thinking that maybe it’s a problem also for other wide communities.
  • Is this a specific Mozilla problem? Maybe the Mozilla project, seen from the outside, seems too big or too complex, and people interested in free software and Open Source choose to invest their time in contributing to smaller projects?
  • People got used to “having things for free” and don’t even think about contributing?
  • They don’t know how to contribute, or even that they can do it?

Honestly, for what I saw in the last year I’m not very confident about the future and that’s why I keep asking to myself: how can we change this trend? Looking forward to discussing these issues during the upcoming community-meeting 🙂

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Firefox hangs because of malware

In the last few weeks, starting from the end of March, we noticed a strange spike in requests on the Italian support forum. The symptoms described were always the same:

  • Pages stop loading after a few minutes of normal browsing.
  • When the user tries to restart the browser he gets the error message “Firefox is already running but is not responding“.
  • Other browsers on the same system are not affected and work without problems.

Since Firefox stopped working at the same time of the Firefox 3.0.8 release, a lot of people thought that the problem was caused by the last update, so they were searching the best way to go back to a previous version.

The usual solutions were not effective: safe-mode, disable plug-ins, temporarily disable antivirus and firewall, reinstall the last version in a different folder, create a new profile.

From the beginning we were able to restrict the problem to the Windows platform, so we thought of some sort of malware. By the evidences we’ve collected so far, the problem seems to be caused by a variant of the Navipromo Adware, not identified by most of the antivirus softwares (see this virus total’s analysis).

Users found suspect files in the local %Appdata% folder (C:\Documents and Settings\%User%\Local Settings\Application Data on Windows XP, C:\Users\%user%\AppData on Windows Vista):

  • [random_name].exe
  • [name_of_exe].dat
  • [name_of_exe]_nav.dat
  • [name_of_exe]_navps.dat

After killing the .exe process in Task Manager, Firefox returns to its normal behavior.

There are still two unanswered questions:

  • Why does only Firefox (and not other browsers) hang?
  • Why now and so hard in Italy? This adaware seems to be quite old.

If you’re interested, there’s a bug and an ongoing discussion on the SUMO Contributors’ forum.

Thanks to all the guys of the Italian project and SUMO for the support and the great team work of the last days 😉

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