Propose of a new FAQ entry (setting LANG and LC_ALL variables)

Fernando Arbeiza arbeizaf at
Mon May 26 15:17:47 PDT 2003

On Mon, 26 May 2003 15:53:53 +0000 (UTC), Seth W.Klein
<sk at> wrote:
>> But I have also seen it some times in the linux-desde-cero mailing
>> list (a low-traffic mailing list for LFS discussion in Spanish).
> Ah the pain of knowing only one language! I could read that list but
> it would hardly do me much good so I must rely on people like you.

Oh, don't be so tragic ;-) The pain is not so bad when that language is
English, at least regarding computers.

> (I would add that any package with this problem is broken and
> the bug should be reported to its maintainer or to the maintainers
> of the autotools (autoconf, automake, libtool) as apropriate.
> Packages should set the language themselves if they are relying
> on parsing the output in a particular language.)

OK, I think I have found the problem. The configure script contains a
section which unsets (or sets to 'C') a bunch of locale variables (LANG
and LC_*) before calling config.guess. But it does not unset the
LANGUAGE variable, which seems to be causing the problem.

Anyway, I think they have fixed it. I have been searching in configure
scripts from some recent packages (shadow, glib, gtk+...), and they
unset every locale variable under the sun. But the problem persists in
older packages (glib-1.2.10 and gtk+-1.2.10 comes to mind), so I think
some kind of warning would be a good idea.

Fernando Arbeiza        <URL: mailto:arbeizaf at>
Crea tu propio Linux:   <URL:>
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