Dear lovers of XSMP,
(Hey, why’d it get so quiet all of a sudden? Hm… let’s try this again…)
Dear haters of libgnome,
I have committed an initial proposal for EggSMClient. I’m especially interested in having win32 and mac gtk hackers look at the skeletal Windows and OS X backends, to figure out how to make them actually work (at which point someone ought to be able to port something like, say, GIMP to use EggSMClient, and see it pop up the “you have unsaved changes, are you sure you want to quit” dialog at logout time on Linux, Windows, and OS X…)
I saw an AT&T ad (on TV, but there’s apparently also a print version) talking about… um, security or something. It’s a little unclear. Jane, the narrator (sysadmin? CIO?) explains:
The German word for “safe” is “sicher”. The Portuguese word for “firewall” is “muro de fogo”. The Chinese word for “password” is “mima”. My company is in forty-five cities in seventeen countries now. And I can say “secure” in every one.
I can only say “secure” in one language, but if you know English words like “mural” and basic everyday Spanish phrases like “Mis pantalones están en fuego”, it’s pretty obvious that “muro de fogo” must mean “wall of fire”, a straightforward calque of the English term.
Except that it’s wrong. A firewall isn’t a “wall of fire”, it’s a “wall against fire”:
- a fireproof barrier used to prevent the spread of fire through a building
- (computing) software that monitors traffic in and out of a private network or a personal computer and allows or blocks such traffic depending on its perceived threat
Google Translate gives “guarda-fogo” as the Portuguese translation of “firewall”, which is presumably the translation for the original sense of the word.
The second meaning is obviously derived from the first. But it’s easy to imagine some Brazilian or Portuguese hacker a decade ago encountering the term “firewall”, and not realizing that it was a pre-existing word, instead thinking “they must call it that because it’s like a wall of fire around your network that burns up any evil packets trying to get through”, and then translating it accordingly. It’s a sort of cross-linguistic eggcorn. And then once one person translates the term that way, others pick it up (either because they don’t realize the mistake either, or eventually just to be consistent with everyone else). And so now, as Jane says, the Portuguese word for “firewall” is “muro de fogo”. Not a calque after all, but a miscalqulation.