Most of the following are from Remove unwanted locales on Ubuntu / Debian in LinuxQuestions.org (some additional formatting applied):
Which locales are installed on my machine?
You can check which locales are generated and configured on your system using the
locale ... list the current locale configuration
locale -a ... lists all all locales that were generated on your system
locale -a -v ... list all locales and show useful additional information (such as directory names that contain the locale information data files)
The last command makes you see that all generated locales are located in
/usr/lib/locale/, you may remove any of them if unneeded. Each pack of
locale information is a directory containing text files and other directories.
All locales that you want your system to support are listed in the text files in
/var/lib/locales/supported.d/. These files have two columns, language tag and character map.
I want my system to know US-English only, so I have only one file there, called en, which contains just a single line:
If error messages are displayed when issuing the
locale command, e.g:
locale: Cannot set LC_ALL to default locale: No such file or directory
make sure the file
/etc/default/locale exists and has proper content, such as:
Get rid of unneeded locale data - Step by step
Now we know all the necessary details to get started with cleaning up our system's locale information:
Edit the locale file(s) in
/var/lib/locales/supported.d/, and remove all unneeded locales (one locale per line)
Create and edit
/etc/default/locale (see above for an example)
Delete all generated locale data:
rm -rfv /usr/lib/locale/*
Re-generate new locales:
That's all! Reboot your machine to make your changes take effect. Then run one or more of the locale command examples from above to ensure yourself that the result is as expected.
~# locale -a -v
locale: en_US.utf8 directory: /usr/lib/locale/en_US.utf8
title | English locale for the USA
source | Free Software Foundation, Inc.
address | 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA
email | firstname.lastname@example.org
language | English
territory | USA
revision | 1.0
date | 2000-06-24
codeset | UTF-8
There is a package for Debian/Ubuntu that can take care of removing locales and locale related files (e.g. man pages):
localepurge. You can install/run it issuing:
sudo apt-get install localepurge
once installed, you should run this:
dpkg --configure localepurge
to ensure your language settings are set correctly.
To run it manually once installed (although you shouldn't really need to as it should run after every
dpkg run automagically), you can just do:
Read the man page before using it, though. If you can get your stuff done without it, it's probably safer to let go.