I tested the solution on Fedora 21 with GNOME Shell 3.14.4, but I believe it can be applied to other versions as well.
First thing to understand is that GNOME desktop environment overrides the system-wide locale definitions and thus is not affected by
/etc/locale.conf. In addition, there are might be applications that have their own locale configuration and don't use the system or GNOME settings at all. In this guide I will describe a way to customize the locale settings to your needs and GNOME and the system will be consistent from the locale perspective.
Checking Current Locale Status
From Fedora 21 System Administrator's Guide:
System-wide locale settings are stored in the
/etc/locale.conf file, which is read at early boot by the systemd daemon. The locale settings configured in
/etc/locale.conf are inherited by every service or user, unless individual programs or individual users override them.
To see the current locale status we can run:
$ localectl status
System Locale: LANG=en_US.UTF-8
VC Keymap: us
X11 Layout: us
$ gsettings get org.gnome.system.locale region
GNOME has only one setting. By giving a quick look at the source code of gnome-control-center it seems that when the
set_localed_locale() function is called, it sets all the following categories (LC_TIME, LC_NUMERIC, LC_MONETARY, LC_MEASUREMENT, LC_PAPER) to the same one locale defined in
Mixing different locale settings seems impossible without creating a custom locale, but fortunately it's not a very complex task.
Creating Custom Locale
I think the easiest way to explain is by example. In my specific case I wanted to have a custom locale, primarily based on Hebrew (he_IL) but with LC_NAME, LC_MESSAGES from en_US and LC_TIME (with modified
first_workday) from en_GB.
Grabbing Locale Definition Files
You should have an idea which locales you want to mix. First we need to locate the related definition files, which can be found in
Back to my example, I needed the following: he_IL, en_US and en_GB. I set up a working folder in my home and copied the required files into it:
$ cd /usr/share/i18n/locales
$ mkdir -v ~/custom-locale ; cp -v he_IL en_US en_GB ~/custom-locale/
Creating a New Definition File
I decided to call my locale hc_IL and took he_IL as a basis. The following lines create a new file
hc_IL with the contents from
he_IL and on the way replace all the occurrences of a string he_IL inside the file with hc_IL.
$ cd ~/custom-locale/
$ sed 's/he_IL/hc_IL/g' he_IL > hc_IL
Modifying the New Definition File
Now we can customize the new locale to our needs. Open the newly created file
~/custom-locale/hc_IL with your favorite text editor. I use vim (it has proper syntax highlighting for locale definition files):
$ vim ~/custom-locale/hc_IL
For those who haven't chosen their favorite editor yet and vim is not their cup of tea, can use gedit :)
$ gedit ~/custom-locale/hc_IL
The file structure is not very complicated. Essentially, it is constructed from sections. From locale(5) man pages:
The locale definition has one part for each locale category. Each part
can be copied from another existing locale or can be defined from
scratch. If the category should be copied, the only valid keyword in
the definition is copy followed by the name of the locale which should be copied.
The notion of copy is very useful. It saves time and the resulting file is clear and concise. For example, instead of copying entire sections around, you can have:
The complete documentation on a locale definition file can be accessed via:
$ man 5 locale
Although, if you just want to create a custom locale, which is a mix of existing ones there's no need to understand every detail.
In my case I modified the following categories and keywords:
title "Custom Hebrew locale"
email "[email protected]"
Note: All the "category.." lines in the LC_IDENTIFICATION section have been modified during the file creation using
sed. So we don't need to touch them anymore.
I copied the complete section from en_GB and modified only the lines that indicate the first day of week and the first work day:
The rest of the categories I left as they are or replaced their content with the copy directive as in:
That's it, the definition file is ready. Don't forget to save the file :)
Compile and Copy the New Locale
Compilation of the new locale is done using the following command as root or using sudo. Replace
hc_IL with your locale:
$ sudo localedef -c -v -i hc_IL -f UTF-8 hc_IL.UTF-8
If the compilation is successful the compiled locale data is added to the archive file
Copy the new locale definition file to the locale definitions directory. Replace
hc_IL with your locale:
$ sudo cp -v hc_IL /usr/share/i18n/locales/
Activating the New Locale
In this step we want to configure the system and GNOME to use the new locale.
/etc/locale.conf file as root and set every line that starts with
LC_ to your new locale. For example:
To activate the new locale in GNOME run the following command. Replace
hc_IL with your locale:
$ gsettings set org.gnome.system.locale region "hc_IL.utf8"
Validating the New Settings
The last step is to validate that everything works as expected. To reload all the settings the easiest for me was to reboot.
Note: Everything was tested on Fedora 21 with GNOME 3.14. Other Linux distributions may require additional or different steps.
Please comment if you find any issues with the instructions.