Localisation of fixes

We produce our software in English. Well, American English anyway. I am a little bit biased since I speak the Queen’s English rather than the well loved twang of our colonial friends. Oh, that would be her Britannic Majesty Elizabeth Regina II. Let’s not have any diversity issues here.


It makes sense for us to do this but we have to consider that English is not the first language of most people. In a great many places, English is rarely spoken. We produce our software in a vast number of languages. We have a Welsh pack for Office. We support Tamil. We support both versions of Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk). The tower of Babel is more than an example of sorting algorithms here. Some languages go left to right. Some don’t. Some use pictograms. Some don’t. Some are cursive. Some are not. We have versions of software for languages that I have never heard of.


My life is a lot easier since Visual Studio and the runtimes don’t come in nearly so many variants. We directly support English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. To make life even easier, I hardly ever see anything requiring Korean, Japanese or either version of Chinese. That just leaves me with English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Of course, that doesn’t mean that applications can only be installed for those locale codes. We might be debugging applications where all the text is Hebrew or Greek or Farsi. However, Visual Studio comes in a fewer flavours.

So, I work with Dev to get things fix. What languages do we produce the fixes for? It depends on the customer who needs it. We always produce a US English version. We will also produce a version in the language that the customer has requested. We may produce others. Depending on what the component is, this can be fairly easy or moderately hard.


The first question to ask is whether the component is localised or not. A lot of components are the same whatever the language that the user interface is in. With those, only the installer needs to be localised. All of the .Net runtime is like that. Most of Visual Studio is. The next question is whether this fix is for Windows Server 2003 (OCM installer) or an earlier version of Windows (Darwin installer). So, if we need to repackage a fix from English to German with the target system running XP (for example), we need to produce a new .exe package which will work on a German system and provide a EULA (end user licence agreement) in fluent and legally correct German. This isn’t really a problem although it can take a few days if we are busy.


Things can be different for 1.1 runtime fixes. If it is for Server 2003 which ships 1.1 as part of the operating system, then the runtime is treated as an operating system component. Fixes for this are treated like operating system fixes except that the rules on when you can redistribute them are very different. You will need to examine the EULA with a lawyer expert in the laws of your country for details since I don’t speak legalese. Anyway, we always produce all fixes for 1.1 where Windows server 2003 is the target for all the most common languages which includes all the supported ones that I work with. So, it is quite likely that we already did a fix in the required language.


Speaking of fixes, fixes to the common language runtime and Visual Studio are cumulative. That is to say that fix #100 will contain all fixes which have been made the same component earlier on. Sometimes we will supply you with a fix that has a later version number than the knowledge base article suggests. The wording in the article is a bit lose regarding this: “The English version of this hotfix has the file attributes (or later file attributes) that are listed in the following table”. We may have supplied you with a later fix because there was a regression bug in the first one. It isn’t common but it does happen. We may have given you a later version because it contains a fix for a bug that you haven’t hit yet but probably will. We might give you a later fix because we have the later fix in the language that you need it in.


It is all good clean fun working in a global business!



Comments (1)
  1. MSDN Archive says:

    Why, thank you.

    Most people think that support is deadly dull but it has some points worth mentioning, I hope

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