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Although both Gnome and KDE have an impressive number of localization teams actively working on translations, from a business perspective it is much more relevant to ask how many of these teams have actually reached a state of 80%, 90% or greater completion?

As the chart above shows, both projects provide a large number of essentially complete and nearly-complete “ready for market” localizations. Note that the statistics shown above are inclusive: that is, the 46 languages complete at the 80% or above level for Gnome (leftmost orange bar) includes the 28 completed at the 95% and above level (rightmost orange bar).

As a point of comparison, in a TechNet article1 from April, 2003, Edward Ye and Steve Jang of Microsoft define a “fully localized” version of Windows XP as providing “a desktop user with approximately 80% localized user experience.” At the time of that writing, Microsoft Windows XP was available in 24 fully localized versions and in 33 “Language Interface Packs” which install on top of the English version of XP. In contrast, Apple provides complete localizations for 15 languages in OSX.

1. Edward Ye and Steve Jang, Comparing Windows XP Professional Multilingual Options,, 2003.