I have 5 unused locales on my system. How can I remove them via command line? I have use localepurge but it didn't work.

1 Answer 1


You can list locales with

localedef --list-archive

or with

locale -a

Corresponding file size is given by

ls -lh /usr/lib/locale/locale-archive

To remove unused locales you can do

sudo locale-gen --purge it_IT.UTF-8 en_US.UTF-8 && echo 'Success!'

where it_IT.UTF-8 and en_US.UTF-8 are the only two locales I want. The && echo 'Success!' at end is useful because locale-gen does not report errors if an unavailable or wrong locale is passed on command line.

  • The command for 12.04 is localedef --list-archive without s Mar 24, 2012 at 8:22
  • @techtonik: it is so also in 11.10, my errror :)
    – enzotib
    Mar 24, 2012 at 9:49
  • Nice. Is there a way to remove just the locales that I don't need? I am not sure whichever of en_US locales are used - I prefer to leave them all and remove only the ones that I am absolutely sure have no use on my system, like de_*. Mar 26, 2012 at 13:05
  • 7
    On bash the exclamation mark in the "Succes!" string triggers the bash history expansion. To avoid this problem you have to include 'Success!' into single quotes or (strangely!) remove the quotes. From bash manual: History expansions are introduced by the appearance of the history expansion character, which is ‘!’ by default. Only \ and ' may be used to escape the history expansion character.
    – Michele
    Feb 10, 2014 at 10:26
  • 8
    --purge is not working in my case and is not documented...
    – Loenix
    Jul 28, 2020 at 8:54

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