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What I want to do is set a locale environment variable (LC_TIME, I think) to something which makes date output in a nice ISO format.

From looking at some other Stack Exchange questions and answers like this one, it seems I'm on the right track, and that using the en_DK locale should do what I want.

But LC_TIME=en_DK date still gives me the same date format as I had before. I also tried setting LANG and LC_ALL, and setting them to en_DK.UTF-8 too, and they have no effect. Just as a sanity check, I then tried setting all these things to ru_RU or ru_RU.UTF-8 since these would have a more obvious effect, but still no change.

I found that there's a package called language-pack-ru and installed that, and also ran sudo update-locale and sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales, but still no change. I didn't find a language-pack-dk. My /usr/share/i18n/SUPPORTED file has en_DK.UTF-8 UTF-8, en_DK.ISO-8859-15 ISO-8859-15, en_DK ISO-8859-1, so as far as I can tell I should be set.

What am I missing?

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It looks like the date command without arguments outputs the locale's "date_fmt", which is not in ISO 8601 format in the en_DK locale. You can get the desired output by adding a FORMAT argument - something like:

LC_TIME=en_DK.UTF-8 date +'%x %X'

Please see man date for further FORMAT sequences.

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