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Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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9.7.2 Locales

Debian supports locale technology. Locale is a mechanism that allows programs to provide suitable output and functionality according to local conventions such as character set, format for date and time, currency symbol, and so on. It uses environment variables to determine the appropriate behavior. For example, assuming you have both the American English and German locales installed on your system, the error messages of many programs can be multilingual:

     $ LANG="en_US" cat foo
     cat: foo: No such file or directory
     $ LANG="de_DE" cat foo
     cat: foo: Datei oder Verzeichnis nicht gefunden

Glibc offers support for this functionality to programs as a library. See locale(7).

Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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