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This page indicates how to install/use Debian in your local language.

Configuration

Programs that support local technology use environment variables to determine the conventions to use for date and time formatting, character display, currency display and codepage selection.

The following environment variables affect locale related behaviour of the system:

LANG

Determines the default locale in the absence of other locale related environment variables

LANGUAGE

List of fallback message translation languages (GNU only)

LC_ADDRESS

Convention used for formatting of street or postal addresses

LC_ALL

Overrides all other locale variables (except LANGUAGE)

LC_COLLATE

Collation order

LC_CTYPE

Character classification and case conversion

LC_MONETARY

Monetary formatting

LC_MEASUREMENT

Default measurement system used within the region

LC_MESSAGES

Format of interactive words and responses

LC_NUMERIC

Numeric formatting

LC_PAPER

Default paper size for region

LC_RESPONSE

Determines how responses (such as Yes and No) appear in the local language

LC_TELEPHONE

Conventions used for representation of telephone numbers

LC_TIME

Date and time formats

Warning!

Using LC_ALL is strongly discouraged as it overrides everything. Please use it only when testing and never set it in a startup file.

Normally how it works is you set LANG to your preferred locale. If there are specific aspects of your primary locale that you don't like (e.g. date formats), then you set the specific variables to override those features only. End users should never set LC_ALL, at least not permanently. LC_ALL is reserved for programs or situations where you need to enforce a specific locale (usually "C") on a temporary basis. One example of this would be reporting error messages on an English-speaking mailing list; you can use LC_ALL=C your command to ensure that the errors are in English, and follow all the POSIX norms.

Standard

Get root and type dpkg-reconfigure locales and select the locale(s) you want to generate. At the end, you'll be asked which one should be the default. If you have users who access the system through ssh, it is recommended that you choose None as your default locale.

This changes /etc/default/locale and /etc/locale.gen (in older versions of Debian, also /etc/environment). If you chose a default locale other than None above, it will be in /etc/default/locale and will override the LANG variable supplied by ssh. This is highly inconvenient.

If you've upgraded to Lenny from an older version of Debian and have leftover LANG=... content in /etc/environment, you should comment it out (type editor /etc/environment and put a # character in front of the line, and then save it).

Now, optionally, edit /etc/profile as follows:

SSH

SSH Server

If you've upgraded from a very old version of Debian (before Etch), your sshd_config(5) may not contain the correct AcceptEnv directive to let the ssh client pass locale variables. Edit your /etc/ssh/sshd_config file and make sure it contains this line:

AcceptEnv LANG LC_*

You should issue the command /etc/init.d/ssh restart to make it take effect. Also, you should log out current ssh connection and log back in. Already-running programs will not be affected.

SSH Client

If you've upgraded from a very old version of Debian (before Etch), your ssh_config(5) may not contain the correct SendEnv directive to let the ssh client pass locale variables. Edit your /etc/ssh/ssh_config file and make sure it contains this line:

SendEnv LANG LC_*

You should log out current ssh connection and log back in. Already-running session will not be affected.

GDM

In GDM login screen, pick a proper locale from the list of installed locales by clicking the locale button in the bottom of the screen.

Alternatively, edit ~/.dmrc. For example, to set the user-wide locale to en_DK.utf8, ~/.dmrc could be something like this:

[Desktop]
Session=gnome
Language=en_DK.utf8
Layout=fi

Manually

First day of week

You might want to use the default en_US locale because some software doesn't play nice when locale's set to something else, but you want to have the first day of the week set to Monday, not to Sunday, like it's defined in en_US. To get this desired behaviour you can add the following to /etc/default/locale:

LC_TIME="en_GB.UTF-8"

Measuring units and paper size

You might also want to change the measuring units and the paper size if you're from Europe:

LC_PAPER="en_GB.UTF-8"
LC_MEASUREMENT="en_GB.UTF-8"

Keyboard layout

See: debian-reference.

See Also


CategorySystemAdministration