I have a server with no X, installed with no locales. There is a "C" locale.

I need to:

  • run server scripts (no console involved) to copy, move and gzip files towards local ext4 file-system, which should contain files with special encoding (Czech, Korean, Russian etc.), so the UTF-8 should be enabled.
  • see the file-names when I type commands in the console
  • have possibility to type most of the file-names with special letters, when logged trough ssh.

What should I do to reach that state? Goal is to give complete guide to change locale systemwide (as default).

  • 1
    See if thishelps.
    – Mitch
    May 23, 2013 at 7:00
  • L- partially, but still there is default "C" locale involved...
    – Dee
    May 23, 2013 at 7:04

2 Answers 2


I have to investigate it deeper and this solution helps me to solve it:

dpkg-reconfigure locales

choose cs_CZ.UTF-8 UTF-8 (default) and/or en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8

apt-get install console-data
dpkg-reconfigure console-data

set pc / qwerty / Czech / Standard / Standard or any other on your choice

dpkg-reconfigure console-setup

set Encoding to use on the console: UTF-8 set Charecter set: Latin2 - central Europe and Romanian, Fixed, 16 or any other on your coice

in file /etc/default/locale set


I dont know which steps are necessary, but after this all fonts and especially all ftp transfers and all tar-gzip actions work well.


I would generate the English (United States) locale.

sudo locale-gen en_US.UTF-8

The system wide locales are stated in /etc/default/locale in Ubuntu, so give that file the contents:

  • What about filenames? Still apears as ?????.txt
    – Dee
    May 27, 2013 at 7:14
  • Then are you sure the filenames are UTF-8 encoded? May 28, 2013 at 7:38
  • (Did you reboot?) May 28, 2013 at 7:39
  • @reboot: it is not possible without reboot? Actually, it is a server! And yes, unfortunate rebooted few times.
    – Dee
    May 29, 2013 at 19:14
  • So, are the filenames showing up as ?????.txt UTF-8 encoded? May 31, 2013 at 6:01

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