Multilingual error messages
Until 2005, whenever the Wikimedia servers encountered a squid error, visitors to any Wikimedia wiki (of any language) were served an English error message. This error message also linked to the "Wikipedia status" page at Openfacts.berlios.de, and the growth of Wikipedia meant that the presence of this link on the error page would bring that site to its knees at every Wikipedia downtime.
I made the heading text on the page soft green, going along with the story that green calms people down. :) This led to it being called the "Green Screen of Death". Soon after it was put in place, the green text had to be darkened because the nice fading pale green text was illegible for some people with vision problems.
Originally, I had only intended for the page to feature 5 or 7 languages (which was already way better than just English), but by the end of the translation drive it had grown to 11 languages: English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional on the one page), Swedish, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish. I picked those languages because, between them, they covered the Wikipedias with the most articles, and also a large bulk of the site traffic as well. Czech and Russian were later added in by others, not looking at any particular rationale for inclusion.
During one particularly long downtime, news articles about Wikipedia's downtime quoted the Error message.
By 2007, I was getting sick of the design of the error page, and it had been described as "an atrocity that needs to be rewritten from top to bottom" by Simetrical. Also, the donation beg in the old message emphasised Wikimedia's "constant need to buy new hardware", which wasn't really true any more, as Wikimedia now had lots of other stuff to spend donated money on.
Since 2006 the error message has been placed into SVN so that changes to it can be tracked, with diffs etc. Once a change is made there, apparently it requires a "shell" to "sync" it. Which I think means the whole squid server software has to be rebuilt/recompiled and sent to the squids to update them.
That about covers everything to do with this message anyone would ever want to know. Below is a list of languages currently on the error message. - Mark 16:33, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
- Norwegian (Bokmal)
- Traditional Chinese
- Simplified Chinese
NOTE: The information below is outdated and is preserved here for historical purposes. If you wish to change the translations (such as to correct a spelling error or bad link), please either contact User:Mark on the English Wikipedia or a developer.