I noticed I have several unneeded locales installed, for example, firefox-locale-. I only need one locale.

How to remove all the rest?

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    Same here. I don't need 50 languages worth of clutter taking up precious SSD space, not to mention filling up the backup drive. – SDsolar Aug 16 '17 at 22:15

First type the locale command to print-out your current locale configuration. Also you can use locale -a to display a list of all available locales.

Cleaning up unused locales

Install localepurge to remove any unwanted languages, while choosing the ones you want to keep. Note that this method will not change the locales settings on your system. It will just purge the locales you have not selected. Use at your own risk.

$ sudo apt-get install localepurge

After that, you could reboot or try to run . /etc/default/locale.

To reconfigure this, simply enter the following in terminal:

$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure localepurge

Another way answered here is to sudo locale-gen --purge <locales YOU WANT TO KEEP>


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    Quoting localepurge man page: "Please note, that this tool is a hack which is not integrated with Debian's package management system [...]" – sevo Sep 23 '17 at 17:39
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    none of these things seem to actually remove any files. /usr/share/man still has all the languages. /usr/share/locale still has all the directories. – kristopolous Aug 27 '18 at 6:55

Unless you have a need to switch to various locales all the time, you can uninstall the unused locales and free up some amount of the storage space in your system.

Install Localepurge via the terminal:

sudo apt-get install localepurge

Once the installation is done, it will remove all locale files from your system that you have no need for.

  • 1
    This might break your system, localpurge on Debian is not supported by the package manager. This is a pretty ugly hack, sadly. I wish it was otherwise. – Markus Bawidamann Oct 21 '20 at 8:36

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