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[tlug] Dictionary problem

Thomas Blasejewicz writes:

 > I have been contemplating the following "question" for a long time, 
 > since every time I dare asking something like that, I am stoned to death 
 > or burnt at the stake within 7 seconds of posting.

Please provide examples from this list, or stop posting this nonsense
about how you're persecuted in this list.

 > In a recent response to my (apparently stupid) question about HDD 
 > problems, Mr. Turnbull used the term "technopeasant" (a new term?).

It was not a response to you.  It was in the same thread, but it was a
response to Kalin.  As a translator, you should take care to be more
accurate in your use and interpretation of language.

 > That is exactly what I am.

According to your goals and behavior as you describe them, I must
agree.  But they are shared by at least a billion people who are
clearly smarter than the average human being.  (Surely of the smartest
2 billion, there are fewer than a billion people who are skillful with
software that isn't "WYSIWYG".)  "Technopeasant" is only an insult if
you choose to take it as one.

 > And according to the person who wrote the article cited also by Mr. 
 > Turnbull

Ah, well, Rick Moen.  He did *intend* to be insulting.  It was
probably a mistake to cite him, even in response to Kalin.

 > About 8 years ago I came across something called "Linux for
 > translators" and was happy of finally having found something NOT
 > Microsoft!  Since then I have spent hundreds (maybe thousands of
 > hours) trying to figure out how to make Linux work,

Why?  This completely puzzles me.  The only explanation I've come up
with that makes much sense is that it gives you an excuse to troll
Linux experts, but that doesn't make all that much sense.  I mean, you
don't try to make Linux sing like Edith Piaf or Leo Kottke, do you?
Dictionaries are just a more plausible case of "if it hurts when you
do that, you're probably using the wrong tool for the job."
Dictionaries on Linux is a plausible request, yes, but still the wrong
tool for you, it seems.

 > used multiple computers (even bought one for practice purpose) and
 > the stack of Live-CDs of the various flavors and versions reaches
 > to the moon.  Unfortunately, I have not had much success so
 > far. (Another proof of my stupidity?)

AFAICS your problem is not stupidity.  It is your stubborn insistence
on trying to treat Linux like an appliance.[1]  I'm pretty sure that if
you were willing to spend as much time studying Linux as you have
already done reinstalling it, you would not have problems today.

But you clearly don't want to do that (and as an economist I advise
you *not* to do that, because you can't get those hundreds of hours
back by throwing future hours after past ones).  So my response to
Kalin, interpreted as advice to you, is to either *buy* the Linux
dictionary system you dream of (probably very expensive, several
thousand euros is hardly out of the question for a competent systems
integrator who really tries to implement your requirements) or to use
a system *designed* to be an appliance, ie, Windows (Mac would work
too but doesn't make economic sense since you evidently already have a
ton of dictionaries known to work on Windows).

 > Dictionaries???

Same problem as Microsoft itself.  The good ones are copyright by
people who believe that the way to make money is to enforce copyright.
It's very difficult to enforce copyright on Linux, and in any case the
vast majority of professionals (other than IT professionals) use
Windows (or sometimes Mac) these days, so Linux is a niche market.
Microsoft is willing to cooperate in protecting their copyrights and
Windows gives access to a huge market, so they commission expensive
software for Windows.  Linux *can't* do the same (Google for "Andrew
Tridgell BitKeeper" for a very instructive case).

 > I would NEVER walk into a bookstore and spend money on those, if
 > they were printed on paper.

But you'll never have to.  The dictionaries "we" mostly use are beer-
free, and usually speech-free too.  (I myself actually just use my
phone's dictionary and sometimes Google for waei and eiwa work.  For
crucial terms, the dictionary is way inferior to the phone: voice
connection to the author is what I need.  But if I was going to use
software for Linux, those packages are all I'd use.  That doesn't mean
your style of work is inferior to mine, just that it's *different*.)

 > Well, try running Windows dictionaries under Linux. I have been
 > spending years on this little tasks.
 > VirtualBox? I was not able to make that work.

Weird, all the software I've tried works for me without any special
effort.  But OK, dictionaries just didn't work for you.  Why don't you
just hire somebody to make it work?  I can't see why dictionaries
would exercise features beyond those required by games, which do run
(albeit slowly) in VirtualBox or VMware.  It should be cheaper than
buying new dictionaries (of course, given your habit and evolution of
languages, you'll probably do that anyway -- but at least you can
postpone it until your existing collection starts to irritate).

 > Wine? Does not work at all.

Not entirely weird, but I'm a little surprised.  I can't see why
dictionaries would exercise features beyond those required by games,
which is the main motivation of the Wine developers AFAICT.[2]

 > Unfortunately, currently my machines are technically not advanced
 > enough.

The yen equivalent of 1000EUR buys a Mac which is quite sufficient for
running virtual machines (Parallels, VirtualBox at least), though they
do require expert tuning to the application to get acceptable
performance from Linux clients (Centos, Ubuntu).  I have no experience
with Windows clients on such machines, but I would imagine it should
be possible.  I'm not recommending that, though.  A similarly beefy
Linux machine probably costs 2/3 of that, and there should be an
active market in second-hand machines.

 > ARE there any "acceptable" dictionaries for Linux.  With acceptable
 > I mean: I would walk into a bookstore and NOT hesitate to spend
 > money on buying a printed copy.

Why are you asking us?  There's a reason why you find gjiten, gwaei,
and friends insufficient, but they continue to exist: "we" find them
useful.  (See "I use my phone" above for why "we" is in quotes.)  We
aren't likely to make good recommendations for *you*, your needs are
more advanced.

To the extent that they are available as ebooks, there are plenty of
good ebook readers for Linux.

 > Or should I "just forget about using Linux" (like the advice from
 > the Crossover team) when it comes to translation, because it is
 > "not up to the job"?

For dictionaries, hasn't that been the advice you've been getting here
for a year?  Your "technopeasant" status is irrelevant, as far as I
can see.  Except that maybe if you could afford an 2500EUR machine and
were willing to fuss with the VM incessantly, you *might* be able to
get that working to the point where it becomes second nature and never
irritates you.  (Note: that is everybody's goal here, to help you
achieve a system that doesn't irritate you!  Preferably a pure Linux
system, of course!)

But why?  Do you have a recent (post-2005) automobile made in Western
Europe?  If so, that "appliance" has more lines of code in it than the
Linux kernel, but you'll never see any of them.

If you really want Linux to be your primary system, make yourself a
Windows box with whatever hardware happens to be lying around, get
somebody to help you configure VNC, and run your dictionaries (which
you already have, IIUC) on that "Windows appliance".  Here's some
advice from Ubuntu about VNC servers (the configuration options on
Windows will undoubtedly be different, but the ideas will be the
same):  I suspect
you'll have to buy a decent VNC server for Windows, but I don't think
that would cost more than a couple hundred EUR.

 > Over the last 8 years, in ALL communities, mailing lists I have joined 
 > over the years, hinting at THAT possibilty always meant death
 > sentence.

Then you're posting from the grave?  Not!  Please stop this nonsense.

 > If Linux really has nothing useful to offer for my "dictionary problem", 
 > I maybe be forced to use Windows after all.
 > Something I would really like to avoid ...

Why?  Sometimes you just have to accept that wishes aren't fishes, so
you'll catch nothing as long as the nets you cast are in your

My own hobby horse (which I threw at RMS himself *18* years ago) that
*still* has no acceptable GNU solution (that I have found) is OCR for
Japanese.  Yet every 100EUR Japanese scanner or multifunction printer
provides perfectly acceptable[3] software for the purpose as part of
the bundle (of course you need to use a proprietary OS, and sometimes
it even has to be Windows).  I do develop free software, so every once
in a while I play with free OCR software to see if I can avoid that
(most recent try is Tesseract/Leptonica), but it never goes very far,
and it's strictly taken from my play time budget.

Some things are still done better by proprietary software (I can live
with Maxima, but I lust for Mathematica still).  Accept that, decide
to live with it, and move on is my advice.

[1]  Of course there are plenty of Linux appliances, but you'll never
see the Linux part of them.  Routers, printers, etc.

[2]  Actually, I don't know the Wine developers.  I know the DJGPP
(GCC for DOS) crowd, and *they* use Wine primarily to play games.

[3]  Where "acceptable" means "at least 20x as fast as typing it
myself, including booting Windows, transferring files, and making

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