The bikeshedding continues

In 2006, Mike Beltzner filed a bug saying that Firefox's about:config should have a warning. Chris Thomas wrote a patch adding a warning page, and it was checked in with a playful title suggested by the same Mike Beltzner: "Be careful, this gun is loaded!".

Some people thought the reference to guns made Firefox too violent. After much discussion, Beltzner changed the title to "This might void your warranty!", which was a suggestion from Phil Ringnalda.

Today, Christopher Aillon of Red Hat filed a bug about the "warranty" string. He says it has caused several users to contact legal departments or IT departments with questions that should have been unnecessary.

My suggestion is "Caution: Firefox internals may be hot". As a bonus, it fails to make sense in Iceweasel-branded versions.

Additional suggestions may be hidden in the Firefox source tree. When Beltzner made the change from "gun" to "warranty", he also added a note to localizers, suggesting that the title need not be a direct translation from English but "should be attention grabbing and playful". At least three localizers substituted their own phrases. I'm curious what the strings say when translated back into English.

23 Responses to “The bikeshedding continues”

  1. mike24 Says:

    “Enter at your own risk!” (cz-version)
    “Attention! Risk of damage!” (sk-version)

    mike24

  2. Wladimir Palant Says:

    “Caution, this page might inflict cuts and bruises” (Ukrainian version)

    And the British version doesn’t need translating…

  3. James John Malcolm Says:

    The problem with the non-playful translations is that the warrenty-joke gets lost in cultures where litigation isn’t as prolific as in the US.

    I think the CZ-version “Enter at your own risk!” is a far better template as a warning message for precisely that reason.

  4. Neil T. Says:

    I think the British version is a good subsitute :) .

    In the German version it says ‘This may end your guarantee’. Danish: “May not be covered by the guarantee”. The French just have ‘Attention, Danger!’.

  5. Gary Kwong Says:

    这样可能会失去质保 — zh_CN directly translates into approximately “This may lose your warranty”.
    隨便亂搞會讓保固失效 — zh_TW directly translates into approximately “Messing around will cause you to lose your warranty”

  6. jmdesp Says:

    French is “Beware ! Danger ahead !”

    German (and also obviously quite many other like spanish) is a direct translation.

    Japanese is also a direct a direct translation (“this is not covered by your garanty”), but they have commented out an alternative option (“劇薬につき取り扱い注意”) which seems to have been the one used in the beta 1 :
    http://img01.kitaguni.tv/usr/ch00288/Firefox30b1-3.jpg
    and which is quite nice, but I’m not too sure about how to translate it properly. It’s something like “Be careful : this is strong medecine”, but it seems to be a standard pharmaceutic warning which my translation doesn’t render. But whatever, it’s possible to use many interesting variation around that like “Warning : This strong medicine may have secondary effects” or “Warning : This medication has not received FDA approval”.

  7. Dan Says:

    I thought the gun metaphor was fine. I have to say that the “void your warranty” phrase was asking for trouble though…

  8. Abdulkadir Topal Says:

    Swedish (sv-SE) says: Warning, dangerous Tool
    Norwegian (nb-NO): Be careful, this (you) might void waranty
    Dutch (nl)/turkish(tr)/german(de): more or less direct translation

  9. Michael Kaply Says:

    The sad part is I reported this before we shipped but was rebuffed.

    https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=417724

    You would think that people involved in open source would understand that the word “warranty” is not a word you throw around lightly as it relates to software.

    For more information, read “Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law” by Lawrence Rosen.

  10. Gordon P. Hemsley Says:

    According to Google:

    Korean (ko): Features Advanced Preferences
    Greek (el): Caution! It may cancel the guarantee of the product! ;-)
    Japanese (ja), current: Operating out of warranty!
    Japanese (ja), original: (^ ^; Powerful drug for treatment of Attention!
    Spanish (es-ES): Zone hostile to manazas! [Note: If this is a typo, it may mean “a hostile zone for apples”. But that’s just conjecture.]
    Arabic (ar): May cancel this guarantee!
    Russian (ru): Be careful, but the only guarantee!
    Swedish (sv-SE): Warning, dangerous tools!

  11. VanillaMozilla Says:

    I vote for “Warning, dangerous tools!” Short, simple, accurate, and easily translated.

    Many non-native English speakers (and probably some native speakers as well) will not get the warranty joke, and there is probably a not a lawyer in the world who gets it. Humor about cuts and bruises, or sexually explicit parts falling off is nice, but alas, you really just want even the dumbest user to know that they shouldn’t monkey with it.

    Maybe something about not monkeying with anything they don’t understand. Alas, even a mention of monkey fingers would be misunderstood by someone.

    I suppose you could try haiku, but that’s even harder to translate.

  12. Majken "Lucy" Connor Says:

    @Vanilla

    The title is only part though. There is a very clear and serious explanation of what follows and the damage you can cause. The point of the title is to get people curious enough to actually read the warning. So something not making sense might actually be a good thing anyway.

  13. Michael Carman Says:

    I like the en-GB version, “Here be dragons!” It’s playful while giving an impression of the danger of mucking about inside. (At least in the western hemisphere. Maybe not so much in eastern cultures.) Plus, we could slap a mozilla mascot on the page, maybe give him wings…

  14. Brian Crowder Says:

    We should go the nethack route:

    Unspeakable cruelty and harm lurk down there.
    Are you sure you want to go in there?

  15. Ted Mielczarek Says:

    Maybe we should implement another warning page for our warning page:
    “Warning: If you have no sense of humor, do not proceed.”

  16. Gids Says:

    Yes, the Spanish translates as
    ‘Danger zone for apples!’

  17. Jesse Ruderman Says:

    “Apples” in Spanish is “manzanas”. “Manazas” is more like “butterfingers” or “clumsy person”; I think it literally means “large hands”. So it’s “Danger zone for the clumsy”.

  18. Lee Houghton Says:

    Hungarian (hu): “Vigyázat, veszélyes terület!” -> “Caution, dangerous area!”

    I like how the French warning is valid English.

  19. VanillaMozilla Says:

    @Majken,
    You’re right. At the time I didn’t have it to look at, and I didn’t realize there was an extended warning.

  20. Minh Nguyễn Says:

    The Vietnamese localization, still in testing, uses “Không ai bảo hành cho bạn đâu!”, which means, “No one’s giving you a warranty!” The translator actually fixed the legal issue here.

  21. AlfonsoML Says:

    Jesse, you are right about the Spanish translation.

  22. era Says:

    The Finnish version is kind of funny, although it might not translate well to languages where “load” is ambiguous. “This page is loaded and dangerous.”

  23. Unexis Says:

    German: Here the guarantee possibly ends!

    Spanish: Hostile zone for manazas!

    Japanese: It is outside the operational guarantee object!

    Japanese 2: You handle concerning the poison note!

    Korean: High-class environmental configuration feature

    Dutch (af): This is possible dalk you guarantee null and void makes!

    Dutch (nl): This can be in summary offence with your guarantee conditions!

    Russian: You be careful, and that you will be deprived of guarantee!

    Italian: This operation could invalidate the guarantee

    Portuguese: Its guarantee has not covered this!

    Greek: Attention! It can you cancel the guarantee of product! ; -)

    Chinese: This will possibly lose the nature to guarantee!

    Taiwanese (using Chinese translator) : Will make do casually will let guarantee against damage the expiration!