Apple has raised the ire of perhaps ten million Europeans - because it chose not to deliver Catalan localization within Mac OS X 'Tiger'.

The move means Apple has ignored a local campaign in the 68,730 square kilometre Catalan region, which extends across parts of Spain, France, Andorra and Italy. The language is spoken by over seven million and understood by ten million people.

What renders the pill bitterest of all to swallow is that Apple has released Mac operating systems localized for Catalan in the past, systems between OS 7 and 9 offered this.

It gets worse: The company that localizes Mac OS X for Spanish, Portugese and French is based locally; in Catalonia.

Catalonian Mac users gear for a fight

The Catalan community is angry. Local magazine Catalonia Today (page 4) reports statements from the secretary of Telecomunicacions i Societat de la Informació, Oriel Ferran.

Ferran, it reports, has: "Taken a bite out of Apple for not including Catalan as a language option.

"In a statement, Ferran reminded the US company that some of the 15 languages supported by the new system have less speakers than Catalan - such as Norwegian or Danish."

The Catalan leader is ready for a fight on behalf of the proudly nationalistic region, promising Catalan's Mac users, "that his department would continue to fight for their right to use the Mac system in their language." Local developers are already working to provide a Catalan alternative.

Wasted youth

Given Apple's current prominence among music fans and iPod owners, the company decision is confounded by the demographics of Catalan speakers - 90 per cent of 15-29 year-olds in the region speak and use the language.

Catalan is an official language in the areas in which it is present and is taught in all schools - with nearly all teaching across subjects given in the language. Apple's education-focus may be needed here, too: 70 per cent of pupils in the region conduct their examonations - in Catalan.

Major Spanish city in the Catalan region, Barcelona, also sees most local plays performed in the language.