Each time I install or operate in other means l10n-related packages, the APT system "rebuilds" a lot of English locales, which takes considerable time. Look at the APT log:

Configuring language-pack-en-base (1:10.10+20100930) ...
Generating locales...
  en_AG.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_AU.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_BW.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_CA.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_DK.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_GB.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_HK.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_IE.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_IN.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_NG.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_NZ.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_PH.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_SG.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_US.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_ZA.UTF-8... up-to-date
  en_ZW.UTF-8... up-to-date
Generation complete.

And this happens for each package.

I don't need all those variants - most of the time I use non-English locale altogether. For me en_US and en_GB would be sufficient.

So my questions are:

  • Are all those en_* variants really installed on my machine? How to check that?

  • If they are, how to cleanly remove them and prevent APT from generating them?


The extent to which the en_* locales actually take up space on your system really depends on the packages you have installed. In general, locale data is stored in /usr/lib/locale.

The last time I checked, changing the locales that are generated was a bit Distro specific.

In Debian:

# dpkg-reconfigure locales

In Ubuntu:

  1. Edit /var/lib/locales/supported.d/en and /var/lib/locales/supported.d/local to only include those locales you want.

  2. Run # dpkg-reconfigure locales

If you want to reclaim the space used by some of those other locales, you can try the localepurge package in Debian or Ubuntu; however, as the man page warns, it can sometimes cause problems.

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