I have Ubuntu 11.04. Yesterday I installed VirtualBox and the encoding was wrong (I couldn't read anything). I know its UI very well so I tried changing the UI display language but it didn't work as all the languages had the same issue. I also noticed that libreOffice had exactly the same problem so I decided to look deeper into it. I found that:

  • Both VirtualBox and LibreOffice depend on Qt libs like libqtcore4. And Qt is used by KDE apps. But other Qt based apps like Okular are functional.
  • In previous installations, I remember that VirtualBox and LibreOffice were using Greek by default. My attempts to change the language to English failed as well.
  • I experimented with locale, update-locale and their ENV variables (LC_ALL, LANG and LANGUAGE) but it had no effect.

I'm out of ideas and I haven't been able to find a decent solution. I'd really appreciate tips, hints or suggestions.

  • can you post result of locale -a
    – daisy
    Apr 29, 2012 at 7:57
  • I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "wrong encoding" - is it displayed in the wrong language altogether? Could you post a screenshot?
    – Mat
    Apr 29, 2012 at 8:47
  • I would post my "locale -a" but since I've changed it, it doesn't reflect on the problem anymore. You're right Mat, I was not clear. By wrong encoding I meant symbols like stars and hearts and triangles. Thank you for your attention.
    – Iason
    Apr 29, 2012 at 10:25

1 Answer 1


I had a rough time fixing this. I found a tool called "localepurge" and chose en_US as my main locale. Now everything's working. I don't know much about linux internals, but I think there might be more than one locale configuration file, so changes you make might not have a global effect.

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