back to article France loves open source so much, even its cinema borks have Linux behind the scenes

We take a trip across the Channel in today's penultimate instalment of the 12 Borks of Christmas, with a reminder that bork will find you, wherever you are. Register columnist Alistair Dabbs spotted this example of the breed while popping into a cinema in the French city of Montpellier to catch a showing of Dune. Montpellier …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interested to know what the film on the left is all about. It appears to have a P40 shooting down a B17? I know Hollywood takes liberties with history, but that's taking it a bit far even for them.

    Unless it's Anime - then all bets are off. Shades of Area-88 maybe?

    Sorry for the non-techie ponderings - slow start to the new year!

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      > Interested to know what the film on the left is all about

      I don't think these panels are about any specific movies, they would have reminders of the movie's title and/or featured stars, not to mention there aren't AFAIK currently any movies with those three themes (WWII, science fiction, fishermen in a storm) running. To me they look like generic "dramatic situations" supposed to dazzle the passerby.

    2. Synkronicity

      My guess is it's intentionally generic enough not to look like it's promoting the Nazis in any way whilst still evoking WWII. Probably because Germany has explicit laws against Nazi emblems and symbology and IMAX is using a global template rather than something specific to each country.

      1. Chris 15

        This a cinema in France. I'm not sure that Germany has any relevance here...

        1. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

          That's what they said in 1940.

        2. Joe W Silver badge

          "and IMAX is using a global template"... (from the post you so snarkingly replied to)

          So... yeah. Not that I disagree with your sentiment per se.

  2. Barry Rueger


    Language is, after all, a major part of the French identity.

    Well, except that every stop sign in France is labelled STOP.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Francais?

      If you check out the wikipedia page on stop signs

      you will read that apparently STOP signs were in France as early as 1927. Even the famously thorough Quebecois now allow the use of STOP, stating that "stop" is a valid French word in this context.

      By law in Wales all road signs should be bilingual, with Welsh first. Even they appear to have accepted STOP only. Are there any with "stopiwch"?

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Francais?

        The Welsh-first thing has come relatively recently (2016?). Up until a few years ago it was only in the North and certain parts of the West where Welsh came first and there are still plenty of English-first signs in the South East. Of course, English-only signs were a cause of quite some unrest back in the 1960s and '70s.

        As for "stopiwch" (or "stopia"), it'd probably be "arhoswch" if you were being pedantic. The Welsh equivalent to "stop", which also means "wait", is "aros" which probably comes from the same root as the French word.

        Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru lists instances of the word "stop" in written Welsh from the 17th century, though not many - it notes "ar lafar yn gyff." meaning either "commonly verbal" or "generally verbal". Since it's from English and adopted into spoken Welsh, I'd say "stop" is perfectly valid. I suppose with "aros" being ambiguous, it isn't actually appropriate anyway, which leads me on to ask...

        Is it only the UK which uses "Give Way" instead of "Wait"? The Welsh on those signs is better - "ildiwch", which would also translate as "yield", which I believe is commonly used on US roads :-)


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Francais?

          Is it only the UK which uses "Give Way" instead of "Wait"

          No, France has "cedez le passage", which translates literally to Give Way.

    2. cookieMonster

      Re: Francais?

      English is everywhere over here now, especially in marketing wank.

      A local food truck used to call itself “My Love Burger”, I had to look twice to make sure I actually read it correctly.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Francais?

        English words, yes. Sense? Not so much. Somehow the Clown Burger place managed to turn "go large" into "Maxi Best Of".

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Francais?

      Stop, unlike "chunky" or "birthday", isn't difficult to say for French people to say, and road signs that are internationally understandable do have advantages for a country that receives lots of tourists.

    4. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Francais?

      Unless it is on a train or bus, where you might see something like "prochain arrêt Montpellier Saint-Roch".

      1. John Sager

        Re: Francais?

        arrêt is a noun in that context whereas STOP is an imperative verb. However I did see a pic illustrating some Français nonsense going on in Quebec that showed an octagonal sign with both STOP and arrêt on it.

        1. Montreal Sean

          Re: Francais?

          @John Sager

          Here in Quebec most stop signs still say "Arret" at the top and "Stop" below it.

          This is slowly changing though.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            More like Franglais...

            I was at a Quebec winery when I noticed that the toilets were labelled "salle de repos"...

    5. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Francais?

      > except that every stop sign in France is labelled STOP.

      AFAIK there some international convention about road signs, which is why most of the time they look mostly the same no matter the country.

      Fortunately! I have been in some countries which don't respect that, and have found myself wondering what the purple octagonal sign with "Bflmgr" on it might be trying to tell me...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Francais?

        Try finding directions in North Eastern Thailand.

        In the days before GPS it was quite a challenge to match up the Thai-only signs to any place on a map. About the only help was that Bangkok (or Krung Thep - กรุงเทพ - in the short form of the full official name which would make me run out of characters here) was generally always indicated on a major road crossing.

        GPS has made that a lot easier. In places like Odessa, for instance, they may have English names for the roads, but that doesn't mean they're actually on the road signs and unless you can decypher Cyrillic (or whatever they use) it'll be hard navigating As an aside, TomTom is of absolutely no use there either, but Google Maps sort of work.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Francais?

        The shape and colour can be international, but I'm sure locals have priority in being able to read what signs say :)

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: Francais?

          > I'm sure locals have priority in being able to read what signs say

          Not sure. Those signs are to be learnt by heart, reading has little to do with understanding a red circle with a red diagonal bar over a "P", for instance. Or an inverted triangle with a red border. Or a picture of a deer. Most signs are non-verbal and meant to be recognized at a glance, even when partially obscured and/or in darkness and pouring rain.

          You have a point for direction and other informative signs though, those which convey additional information, beyond a simple do/don't do.

    6. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Francais?

      Stop is stop in many languages like in French. Very Germanic and often as stopp.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    surprised ?

    "We were also vaguely surprised to see the messages appearing in English"

    Why ? IT is full of english terms, to the point, as a native french, I'm always *very* confused when faced with an OS configured in french.

    All terms seem really ... out of place, kind of implying something I never expect.

    It took me years of career to encounter the french term "serveur mandataire". Kezako ? A proxy server. I had to google this, lol.

    1. Skiron
      IT Angle

      Re: surprised ?

      IT is full of english terms...

      Surely you mean 'American English'. It took me months to remember to spell 'colour' color when learning HTML in the '90's. I still do sometimes.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: surprised ?

      That «mandataire» translation was introduced by GNOME in in the early 2000s IIRC. While perfectly correct, it was indeed confusing, since by then, «proxy» was already well established in an IT context. It's purely a matter of habit though, since there's really nothing wrong with using an exactly right translation.

      If there is a feeling of wrongness, it shows how rigidly our daily habits govern our thoughts more than anything else (and we IT people do tend to be very rigid and set in our little habits, don't we? :)

    3. Piro Silver badge

      Re: surprised ?

      Same everywhere else too. I live in a different EU country, and the absolute universal preference is to install servers in English, with the slim exception of some terminal servers.

      God help you if you need to find resources based on a non-English error message. It would actually be really helpful if non-English error dialogues had a button to show the English version, purely for troubleshooting purposes.

    4. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: surprised ?

      Oooh, localised operating systems...

      When I was a PFY I had the joy of configuring the laptops of several guest scientists over the years, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Ukranian, French... Lucky then the Windows dialogs were really similar (similar placement of buttons and options), unfortunately I am still more of a Linux person. Usually we could figure it out somehow.

      I am still very sorry for laughing at a prof from the US - it was at the Max Planck Institute in Dresden when he came into the Linux computer room and asked the guy with the Debian shirt for help with a Windows laptop... fun times ;)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah yes...

    XFCE, the alternative to Gnome3 that is better than Gnome3 because it can be "customised without crappy plugins".

  5. Irony Deficient Silver badge

    a trailer for a film where …

    … French space marines will bundle out of a spacecraft to do battle with English text left floating in orbit. Now that would be a film we’d like to see.

    L’Académie française dans l’espace — vous pouvez la regarder bientôt dans un cinéma près de chez vous !

  6. Alistair Dabbs

    French kids are taught poor English

    Everywhere I go (at least back in the days when I was allowed to go somewhere), I can don a pith helmet and shout: I will be understood and even replied to in basic English. Except in France. I think the reason is that English is not taught adquately well in French schools. Brits like to beat themselves up about their poor language skills but at least they don't pretend. By contrast, the French insist on using English all over the place - in product names, in ad campaigns, even promoting public services - and it is always wrong.

    For example, on my walk into town, I pass a swanky modern adult training centre dedicated to teaching English. On its front door they have put a sign reading: "Happy New Years!"

    Not to mention their insistence on referring to canabis as "shit". Endless laughs with this one, especially in newspaper headlines. Just a few weeks ago we had: "Shit retrouvé dans un W.C."

    1. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

      Re: French kids are taught poor English

      Ah, next time someone asks you if you're a tourist you just tell them: "No, I'm British" and don't bother shouting with the pitch helmets and stuff.

      So I though that English was just badly pronounced French? It sounds more like badly pronounced German to me — or Dutch. But Dutch is mostly poorly pronounced German too.

      What else? Happy New Years: yeah, that sign can be re-used next year and the year after that.

      Thanks. I'll be going now.

    2. Fred Daggy Bronze badge

      Re: French kids are taught poor English

      Well, that make sense.

      Also, in my experience, Francophone teachers teaching French are also pretty bad. As an adult, trying to learn French (not in France, but a neighbour) was frustrating.

      In the first instance, I thought it was me. So I persisted. However, mercifully the teacher got knocked up (not by me), and left.

      Queue second teacher, but same school: Nope, still crap. Ok, must be the materials and course then.

      New school, new teacher. Better materials, learnt a bit more, but still crap. Plus no one can deal with French spoken with an Australian accent. British or American accents they hate, but can deal with. But you can see steam coming from the ears as I speak ... badly.

      Anyway, last remaining common factor - me. So proceeded to pick German in a year and a bit. So ... not me.

      Perhaps the Académie Française is really shit for enforcing a certain groupthink as to how a language is taught? And that hinders ALL language learning?

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: French kids are taught poor English

        I tend to find one of three reactions to my Franglais (it's pretty bad as I taught myself most of what I know by reading the paper).

        The rare reaction is "your accent is so cute! but what were you saying?". Some have mistaken me for a Canadian for some reason.

        The average reaction is "huh? can you repeat that?" and after a few attempts we sort of get somewhere. Generally better if the person has had some exposure to English as spoken by actual natives and not their (French) teacher.

        Sadly the other average reaction is to just walk away, like "can't even be bothered". Which is pretty fucking rude, but sadly not so unusual.

        And then I have to pretend to be impressed when somebody comes out with "I love you some, yes, smile that, good good much" (actual quote!)

      2. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: French kids are taught poor English

        > So proceeded to pick German in a year and a bit.

        English and German are pretty close. Probably because the Anglo-Saxons, those who coined "Old English" somewhere in the early Middle Ages, were actually germanic tribes (Anglia was IIRC somewhere in actual Denmark, and Saxony still is a thing). It shows in the number of extremely similar-sounding words (Boat-Boot, House-Haus, Good-Gut, and so on).

    3. swm Silver badge

      Re: French kids are taught poor English

      My experience is that foreigners speak better English/American than the natives.

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: French kids are taught poor English

        > My experience is that foreigners speak better English/American than the natives.

        Yes, I have found that the quality of written grammar in English tends to be higher among non-native English speakers (except the French). This is possibly because they learnt it more recently than the rest of us and it is still fresh in their heads: the last time that most native-English speakers had a grammar lesson was probably in primary school and we've been busking it ever since.

  7. JassMan Silver badge

    To be fair

    Although the message is obscuring the view, unlike the other 12BOCs, this is not an OS crash. The StatusNotifierPlugin is just a python-java shim and will probably belong to the task button to the left of VLC. As such (assuming you can attach a keyboard) you have a much better chance of being able to fix the problem, because the OS itself will still be cooperative.

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