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The kernel configuration contains an NLS_UTF8 option. It can be found under File systems → Native language support. What does it do?

Its description maintains that it is needed for using a FAT or JOLIET CD-ROM filesystem. Is it necessary for an ext[234] filesystem?

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FAT filenames (not file contents) are encoded in a country-specific manner, DOS called those "codepages". They need to be present in the kernel so your console con correctly display the characters.

This also counts for the UTF-8 encoding of the Unicode charater set.

This doesn't apply to ext FS though, read up here.

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