locales, nls - supportable or not?

Alexander E. Patrakov patrakov at ums.usu.ru
Tue Nov 14 20:55:01 PST 2006


there was a thread on blfs-support that really made me think that all my 
efforts of adding locale support to the book were in vain. See 

The problem is that the wrong answer is given to the original poster by 
TWO editors, and nobody corrected them. On this basis, I declare that 
locale issues are not really supportable (and DIY is right in ignoring 
them), and demand immediate removal of all UTF-8 related patches and 
instructions from LFS and BLFS (and putting back the words like "UTF-8 
does not work and requires substantial undocumented modifications to the 
build process"). It is better to be honest and don't claim non-existent 

Now, the correct answer to the thread mentioned above.

> nls_utf8 doesn't seem to be used, but I don't know it this right

This isn't right. The problem is that the iocharset absolutely needs to 
match the locale. You have to use iocharset=utf8. This is documented in 
the book, on the fstab page: "Filesystems with MS-DOS or Windows origin 
(i.e.: vfat, ntfs, smbfs, cifs, iso9660, udf) need the iocharset mount 
option in order for non-ASCII characters in file names to be interpreted 
properly. The value of this option should be the same as the character 
set of your locale, adjusted in such a way that the kernel understands it."

> And last thing: the characters used to make squares in ncurses. 
> Configuring the kernel, for example. make menuconfig gives garbage in 
> the console, but looks nice under X, with an ext3 filesystem.

Incorrect contents of /etc/sysconfig/console. Please use:

KEYMAP="es euro2"
FONT="LatArCyrHeb-16"   # or "lat0-16"

This will (contrary to what Dan Nicholson states) give you the correct 
input and display of all characters used in Spanish both in the console 
and in xterm. You can also download LFS LiveCD and see the result 
yourself by default (but, of course, you have to mount vfat with 
iocharset=utf8 yourself, the CD can't automagically add this option).

And Japanese on the console is not possible without software like iterm 
(but even then, only output, not input, is possible). For Japanese in X, 
read http://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/wiki/InputMethods

> Only one question: how do you set utf-8 for X and, say, iso-8859-15 
> for console?

You don't - this is an inherently broken setup. If you do this, in the 
console you won't be able able to read documents that were created in X, 
and the other way round. You want es_ES.UTF-8 in both places. And the 
latest kernel even doesn't need patches for this to work (but that's 
only because your keymap doesn't produce characters outside of Latin-1 
using dead keys).

Alexander E. Patrakov

More information about the lfs-dev mailing list