Language installation doesn't work in Ubuntu GNOME 16.10 Settings app

Bug #1631750 reported by Jeremy Bicha on 2016-10-09
This bug affects 8 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ubuntu GNOME
gnome-control-center (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

What happens
1. From a terminal in Ubuntu GNOME, enter
 gnome-control-center region

My locale is set to en_US so my terminal emits
common-cc-panel-WARNING **: Language en_US.UTF-8 not installed, trying to install it

2. Click Language.
3. Click the 3-dot "more" button at the bottom of the popup.
4. Select French (France). Click Done.

My terminal emits:
common-cc-panel-WARNING **: Language fr_FR not installed, trying to install it

French isn't actually installed.

What should happen
PackageKit should install French. Language in the main window should change from English (United States) to French (France). Unfortunately because of how the system works, it would still require a log out and log in for the change to actually take effect.

Other Info
Installation of audio/video codes appears to work just fine:

1. Uninstall the extra codecs (assuming you clicked the box in the installer to install third-party softwarel)
sudo apt uninstall ubuntu-restricted-addons
sudo apt autoremove

Download this file

It opens in Totem and session-installer prompts to install gstreamer1.0-plugins-ugly. Installation completed successfully and I was able to play the file.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 16.10
Package: gnome-control-center 1:3.20.1-2ubuntu3
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 4.8.0-19.21-generic 4.8.0-rc8
Uname: Linux 4.8.0-19-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.20.3-0ubuntu7
Architecture: amd64
CurrentDesktop: GNOME
Date: Sun Oct 9 09:52:01 2016
InstallationDate: Installed on 2016-10-07 (1 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu-GNOME 16.10 "Yakkety Yak" - Alpha amd64 (20161007)
 PATH=(custom, no user)
SourcePackage: gnome-control-center
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) wrote :
Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) on 2016-10-09
description: updated
summary: - PackageKit integration does not work in Ubuntu GNOME 16.10
+ Language installation doesn't work in Ubuntu GNOME 16.10 Settings app
description: updated
Ubuntu QA Website (ubuntuqa) wrote :

This bug has been reported on the Ubuntu ISO testing tracker.

A list of all reports related to this bug can be found here:

tags: added: iso-testing
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in gnome-control-center (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

Can confirm the language installation issue.

tags: added: regression-release
Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) on 2016-10-09
Changed in ubuntu-gnome:
importance: Undecided → High
status: New → Confirmed
Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) wrote :

It also affects Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 LTS with the GNOME3 Staging PPA. gnome-control-center there is virtually the same as in yakkety. That suggests that this is not the fault of yakkety's PackageKit 1.1 update.

Tim (darkxst) wrote :

Looks like the dbus API has changed
common-cc-panel-DEBUG: Error getting PackageKit updates list: GDBus.Error:org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.InvalidArgs: Type of message, '(tuas)', does not match expected type '(tas)'

Tim (darkxst) wrote :

also what-provides in general seems broken:
 pkcon what-provides "locale(zh_CN)"

should return a list of packages!

Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

It's probably not applicable, but bug #1541288 proposed that language-selector would switch to PackageKit in xenial, but the plan was dropped, and l-s is still using aptdaemon.

god (humper) wrote :

How come this isn't release-blocking bug?!

Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

A workaround until this has been fixed is to install the language-selector-gnome package.

sudo apt install language-selector-gnome

It will add "Language Support" to Settings, and additional languages can be installed from there.

Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) on 2017-03-18
Changed in ubuntu-gnome:
milestone: none → zesty
Tim (darkxst) wrote :

This patch adapts to the new d-bus API for Packagekit "WhatProvides"

It still doesnt help however, since I suspect the underlying aptdaemon plugin provided by language-selector is not returning any results.

tags: added: patch
Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

@Tim: While language-selector-gnome still depends on aptdaemon, language-selector-common does not, and the check-language-support command ought to work. Maybe there is something else.

Tim (darkxst) wrote :

Gunnar, ok I been out of the loop a bit the last while, with internet issues, but should finally have adsl soon. We were previously using the packagekit plugin provided by language-selector that pitti implemented, although pretty sure we are/were the only users of that.

I guess I recall packagekit no longer supports plugins also, so the backend will need to grow support for this. is Ubuntu still using apt backend for PAckagekit?

tags: removed: patch
Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

To be honest, this is over my head, but I think that it uses aptdaemon somehow when installing languages from the language-selector-gnome GUI, and thus l-s is affected by bug #1673258.

Martin wrote a few years ago. Is that what you mean? In that case it's used by everyone, not just Ubuntu GNOME.

Tim (darkxst) wrote :

Yes, as part of that there was a packagekit plugin, don't think anyone else ever made use of that specifically though. And now packagekit does not support plugins, we will need to find another way to make it work.

Upstream aren't too interested in lang packs last I heard, since no other distro even has proper lang pack support.

tags: added: patch
Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) wrote :

I happened to be looking into this bug too this weekend.

(By the way, my earlier comment about this affecting Ubuntu 16.04 with the GNOME3 Staging PPA is wrong because this was caused by the PackageKit 0.8 > 1.1 transition.)

Tim, maybe check-language-support does what we need instead of pk's what-provides (which apparently was never hooked up on Debian anyway).

$ check-language-support -l fr_FR
firefox-locale-fr gnome-getting-started-docs-fr hunspell-fr hyphen-fr language-pack-fr language-pack-gnome-fr libreoffice-help-fr libreoffice-l10n-fr mythes-fr wfrench

$ check-language-support -l en_US
[no output since I have English (United States) installed]

$ check-language-support -l en_GB
hunspell-en-gb hyphen-en-gb libreoffice-help-en-gb libreoffice-l10n-en-gb

Fedora does have language packs and they show in GNOME Software>Addons>Localization.

Ubuntu and Debian's packagekit are in sync now and I believe they use the aptcc backend.

Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

On 2017-04-02 17:45, Jeremy Bicha wrote:
> Tim, maybe check-language-support does what we need

I'm pretty sure it does. check-language-support is used by the installer.

Tim (darkxst) wrote :

we can probably add what-provides support to aptcc I think Matthias was open to adding that into the backend as a stop-gap (longer term I think it will end up as part of the appstream metadata). Should be easier than moving to check-language-support.

Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) wrote :

I thought it would be easier to pipe the output of check-language-support to PackageKit. (But I'm not sure how to implement that myself.)

Anyway, I talked to Matthias this weekend briefly too:

Tim (darkxst) wrote :

I will try and take a look over the weekend and see if I can hook something up.

Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) on 2017-04-21
tags: added: gnome-17.10
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