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Knowledge Hurts – a blog of thoughts, things and stuff.

YAY! Finally Gnome’s language is what I set!

Another big problem solved: in Debian unstable, after running set-language-env, I had so many files altered, that it was very hard to return to a configuration where it was ME who chose which language to use and not some creepy config file in the back. My main problem was to chose a language in Gnome and to have different gnome languages for different users. Here is how: You simply chose in the GDM screen when logging in! (That is, if there isn’t any configuration hindering you to do so…if you have a negative result when selecting your language via GDM, read on.)

How to generate locales:

  1. don’t use set-language-env. don’t use locale-gen (it works, but why bother…)
  2. simply go to a root shell and type dpkg-reconfigure locales
  3. select the locales you’d like to use. Select an additional non-UTF8 locale for your standard language, even if you’d like to work in UTF-8 only.
  4. Go through the dialogues – and at the end everything is done for you automatically.

Manual Configuration – Here is where your locale is set:

globally: /etc/environment – this is where your favorite language should go (a language that can be understood by everybody using the machine, that is). For me it reads:

(yupp, that’s all there is)

for each user: /etc/.bashrc the beginning of this file reads:
export LANG


  • .xsession (if you don’t have anything other than your language specified in it, delete it. With a standard config, it will not be executed anyway)
  • .profile (if you put your language here, this would be quite effective, but don’t do it – you like clicking and setting it with GDM, don’t you?)

How to select your language after booting up your system – how to change the language of GNOME:

  1. In GDM simply click on language (bottom-left corner) and select a language
  2. type in your username and password and specify if you’d like to change your prefered language or not.

How to verify that everything’s alright:

  1. open a terminal.
  2. typing “locale” should give you the locale selected in .bashrc
  3. open “xterm sh”
  4. typing “locale” should give you the locale selected via GDM.
  5. if not:

What to do if I use KDM?

I honestly don’t know. Select your language via altering .profile (but don’t forget, where you changed it!)


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