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11.6.3 Temporary - Why a single implementation

Now it seems kind of wasteful to me to have two different systems installed for accessing message catalogs. If we do want to remedy catgets deficiencies why don’t we try to expand catgets (in a compatible manner) rather than implement an entirely new system. Otherwise, we’ll end up with two message catalog access systems installed with an operating system - one set of routines for packages using GNU gettext for their internationalization, and another set of routines (catgets) for all other software. Bloated?

Supposing another catalog access system is implemented. Which do we recommend? At least for Linux, we need to attract as many software developers as possible. Hence we need to make it as easy for them to port their software as possible. Which means supporting catgets. We will be implementing the libintl code within our libc, but does this mean we also have to incorporate another message catalog access scheme within our libc as well? And what about people who are going to be using the libintl + non-catgets routines. When they port their software to other platforms, they’re now going to have to include the front-end (libintl) code plus the back-end code (the non-catgets access routines) with their software instead of just including the libintl code with their software.

Message catalog support is however only the tip of the iceberg. What about the data for the other locale categories? They also have a number of deficiencies. Are we going to abandon them as well and develop another duplicate set of routines (should libintl expand beyond message catalog support)?

Like many parts of Unix that can be improved upon, we’re stuck with balancing compatibility with the past with useful improvements and innovations for the future.

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