Archive for April, 2019

Changing the locale in Ubuntu Server

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

When logging into any cPanel server via SSH from an Ubuntu jump server I was seeing some strange warnings from Perl which I didn’t see when logging in from my laptop running macOS:

perl: warning: Setting locale failed.
perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings:
LANGUAGE = (unset),
LC_ALL = (unset),
LANG = “C.UTF-8”
are supported and installed on your system.
perl: warning: Falling back to the standard locale (“C”).
perl: warning: Setting locale failed.
perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings:
LANGUAGE = (unset),
LC_ALL = (unset),
LANG = “C.UTF-8”
are supported and installed on your system.
perl: warning: Falling back to the standard locale (“C”).
perl: warning: Setting locale failed.
perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings:
LANGUAGE = (unset),
LC_ALL = (unset),
LANG = “C.UTF-8”
are supported and installed on your system.
perl: warning: Falling back to the standard locale (“C”).

After a quick rummage, I found that the reason was that the “LANG” environment variable on my laptop was defaulting to “en_GB.UTF-8”, whilst on the Ubuntu jump server it was “C.UTF-8”.

The cPanel server runs some Perl stuff when bash starts and if it doesn’t like your locale settings, then it spits out these warnings.

The “LANG” environment variable is part of the locale system and so the best way to fix this is to update the locale settings configured on the Ubuntu jump server.

By default, SSH on both macOS and Ubuntu is configured to send the local “LANG” and “LC_*” environment variables used for locale settings to the remote system.

You can use the “locale” command to see your current locale settings as well as “locale -a” to see installed locales.

$ locale
LANG=C.UTF-8
LANGUAGE=
LC_CTYPE=”C.UTF-8″
LC_NUMERIC=”C.UTF-8″
LC_TIME=”C.UTF-8″
LC_COLLATE=”C.UTF-8″
LC_MONETARY=”C.UTF-8″
LC_MESSAGES=”C.UTF-8″
LC_PAPER=”C.UTF-8″
LC_NAME=”C.UTF-8″
LC_ADDRESS=”C.UTF-8″
LC_TELEPHONE=”C.UTF-8″
LC_MEASUREMENT=”C.UTF-8″
LC_IDENTIFICATION=”C.UTF-8″
LC_ALL=

$ locale -a
C
C.UTF-8
POSIX
en_US.utf8

In my case I wanted to use en_GB.utf8, which wasn’t installed. You can use the “locale-gen” command to generate locales, but they are also provided in official Ubuntu packages , so I installed the “language-pack-en” package from the Ubuntu repositories using APT.
This added several English locales and then I could reconfigure Ubuntu to use the one that I needed.

$ apt-get install language-pack-en
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
The following additional packages will be installed:
language-pack-en-base
The following NEW packages will be installed:
language-pack-en language-pack-en-base
0 upgraded, 2 newly installed, 0 to remove and 3 not upgraded.
Need to get 420 kB of archives.
After this operation, 3756 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y
Get:1 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu bionic-updates/main amd64 language-pack-en-base all 1:18.04+20180712 [419 kB]
Get:2 http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu bionic-updates/main amd64 language-pack-en all 1:18.04+20180712 [1904 B]
Fetched 420 kB in 0s (3606 kB/s)
Selecting previously unselected package language-pack-en-base.
(Reading database … 50814 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack …/language-pack-en-base_1%3a18.04+20180712_all.deb …
Unpacking language-pack-en-base (1:18.04+20180712) …
Selecting previously unselected package language-pack-en.
Preparing to unpack …/language-pack-en_1%3a18.04+20180712_all.deb …
Unpacking language-pack-en (1:18.04+20180712) …
Setting up language-pack-en (1:18.04+20180712) …
Setting up language-pack-en-base (1:18.04+20180712) …
Generating locales (this might take a while)…
en_AG.UTF-8… done
en_AU.UTF-8… done
en_BW.UTF-8… done
en_CA.UTF-8… done
en_DK.UTF-8… done
en_GB.UTF-8… done
en_HK.UTF-8… done
en_IE.UTF-8… done
en_IL.UTF-8… done
en_IN.UTF-8… done
en_NG.UTF-8… done
en_NZ.UTF-8… done
en_PH.UTF-8… done
en_SG.UTF-8… done
en_ZA.UTF-8… done
en_ZM.UTF-8… done
en_ZW.UTF-8… done
Generation complete.

$ locale -a
C
C.UTF-8
en_AG
en_AG.utf8
en_AU.utf8
en_BW.utf8
en_CA.utf8
en_DK.utf8
en_GB.utf8
en_HK.utf8
en_IE.utf8
en_IL
en_IL.utf8
en_IN
en_IN.utf8
en_NG
en_NG.utf8
en_NZ.utf8
en_PH.utf8
en_SG.utf8
en_US.utf8
en_ZA.utf8
en_ZM
en_ZM.utf8
en_ZW.utf8
POSIX
$ update-locale LANG=en_GB.utf8

The locale settings are stored in “/etc/default/locale“, so you can either edit this file manually or use the handy “update-locale” utility to do it for you.
Either way, once you start a new session, you are using the new locale settings and Perl no longer complains when you SSH to a cPanel server.