Lingua franca

Last week, a colleague of mine who's using Antergos showed me a particular error message he's getting when attempting to update the system, and asked whether I could help him to resolve it. However, I had never seen this error message before, and recommended to search for it. I've realized only later that the error message had been in German.

Let me give you one advice: whatever Linux distribution your are using, whatever your native tongue may be, do not chose German. Nor Spanish, French, Hindi, or Chinese. Do not use any system language other than English!

Why? Well, just compare the active forums on the generic, primarily english-speaking Arch forum with the German one. Right now, it's about 70 topics compared to 3. That ratio also applies to the number of answers you are likely to get when searching for a particular problem with Archlinux in English or German. It's proportionally less likely to get a response to questions not posted in English.

In my 30 years of computer usage, I've in fact never used any system language other than English. Oh well, that's not entirely true: the Macintosh II and the 386 Mitsubishi notebook I've worked with in 1992 had a Japanese user interface, but that had not be my decision. Other than those, I've always used English regardless of the OS. I believe that this decision is the major reason why I've usually fared better, regarding computer installations, than most of my contemporaries, although we nominally did the same. As a matter of fact, one often finds plenty of solutions in the internet when searching for error messages in English, but hits nothing in any other language.