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Created: November 09, 2002.
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OpenI18N Announces Common XML Locale Specification.

An announcement from the OpenI18N (Free Standards Group Open Internationalization Initiative) describes the release of an XML specification for common XML locale data, available from the Common XML Locale Repository project. The goal of the Common XML Locale Repository project "is to devise a general XML format for the exchange of culturally sensitive (locale) information for use in application and system development, and to gather, store, and make available data generated in that format." The XML specification has been produced by members of the LADE (Linux Application Development Environment) Workgroup. A Locale Data Markup Language specification describes an XML vocabulary for the exchange of structured locale data. Source files containing locale/culture information are converted to be compliant to the Common Locale XML specification, validated by the accompanying Common Locale XML DTD. The LADE Workgroup "has finalized the XML specification of the culture information data to be shared by the application developers creating globalized software. It is also in the process of creating a set of modular standards such that the culture information repertoire can be used based on one or more components or as a whole, depending on the end users' needs."

About Locale Data: "A locale is an id that refers to a set of culturally sensitive preferences that tend to be shared across significant swathes of the world. Traditionally, the data associated with this id provides support for formatting and parsing of dates, times, numbers, and currencies; for the default units of currency; for measurement units, for sort-order (collation), plus translated names for timezones, languages, countries, and scripts. They can also include text boundaries (character, word, line, and sentence), text transformations (including transliterations), and support for other services. Most systems and applications currently maintain their own repositories of locale data. There are significant differences across repositories in the locale-sensitive data used for such formatting, parsing, and analysis..."

About the Free Standards Group: "Supported by the development community and IT industry leaders, the Free Standards Group is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the use and acceptance of open source technologies through the development, application and promotion of standards. The Free Standards Group fulfills a critical need in the open source development community to have common behavioral specifications, tools and APIs, making development across Linux distributions easier. The group has several active and important projects, including the LSB, OpenI18N (formerly Li18nux), LANANA, and OpenPrinting... As the umbrella group for several open source standards efforts, the Free Standards Group acts as a key facilitator between the needs of the free and open source development community from which it came and the IT industry that increasingly relies on Linux as a solutions platform. The Free Standards Group is backed by industry leaders, including: Caldera, Compaq, Conectiva, Debian, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi, IBM, Miracle Linux, The Open Group, Oracle, Red Hat, Sun, SuSE, Turbolinux, VA Software, as well as by members of the free and open source software development community..."

From the announcement:

The Free Standards Group Open Internationalization Initiative, OpenI18N (formerly known as Li18nux) announced the release of the XML specification of the common XML locale data. The Common XML Locale Repository project is a joint effort among the members of the Linux Application Development Environment (aka LADE) Workgroup of the Free Standards Group. The founding members of the workgroup are IBM, Sun and The workgroup is open to additional members, both industry and community. The purpose of this project is to devise a general XML format for the exchange of culturally sensitive (locale) information for use in application and system development, and to gather, store, and make available data generated in that format.

"Interoperability has been significantly hampered by the lack of any acceptable repository for locale data," said Mark Davis, IBM chief globalization architect. "By having a single format for gathering and comparing data specific to different countries, it will make it far easier for programs and systems to provide consistent results to people all around the globe, no matter what language they speak. To support this effort, we have volunteered to host the initial work on the ICU website ("

"The ability to process and present culturally sensitive information has become a significant issue with the popularity of the Web, said Helena Shih Chapman, The Free Standards Group OpenI18N LADE Workgroup leader. "Application developers can now make use of the information provided by the Common XML Locale Repository to provide the correct international behavior to the application end users."

Locale/culture information standards for Linux ensure that Linux and Linux-based software will have the infrastructure necessary to address the advanced needs of world-wide ready software, creating yet another indispensable tool for Linux...

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