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I have a script in /etc/init.d on an EC2 image that, on machine startup, pulls in source code via SVN, builds it, and then runs it using Ant. The source code is Java. Within this code is a call to the Weka library which writes a file to disk. On most Ubuntu AMIs, and my home machines' versions of Ubuntu, there is no issue.

The problem is that with certain versions/AMIs of Ubuntu, Unicode characters in the file are replaced with question marks ('?'). If I run the job manually on the trouble instance, Unicode is output to file correctly, but not when run from /etc/init.d.

What might be causing this problem and how can I fix it so that Unicode characters appear correctly in files written from /etc/init.d processes?

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The first thing I would check is the default locale on the machine - /etc/init.d runs with all defaults, and not your per-user locale.

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