Debian's most annoying warning message: "Setting locale failed"

You ssh into a server or you enter a chroot, and the console overflows with these messages:

perl: warning: Setting locale failed.
perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings:
        LANGUAGE = "en_US:en",
        LC_ALL = (unset),
        LC_TIME = "en_US.utf8",
        LC_CTYPE = "de_AT.UTF-8",
        LC_COLLATE = "C",
        LC_MESSAGES = "en_US.utf8",
        LANG = "de_AT.UTF-8"
    are supported and installed on your system.
perl: warning: Falling back to the standard locale ("C").
locale: Cannot set LC_CTYPE to default locale: No such file or directory
locale: Cannot set LC_MESSAGES to default locale: No such file or directory
locale: Cannot set LC_ALL to default locale: No such file or directory


Fortunately the fix is easy (adjust the locale names for your situation):

locale-gen en_US.UTF-8 de_AT.UTF-8

Finally, peace on the console.

Checklib finally announced

On Monday, checklib was finally announced on debian-devel-announce, thanks to Andreas Barth for sponsoring the mail.

I got very positive reactions from a number of people, which is great. I got less friendly comments prior to the announcement (by one person) , and I'm happy this reaction wasn't representative for the rest of Debian.

It's nice that people show interest in the problem, there's currently a discussion on debian-devel if and how automatic checking (and fixing) could be added to debhelper. That would seriously rock, as it would be one of the faster ways to get the number of affected packages down.

It's also cool to hear that the GNOME people are fixing their .la files with 2.16 in order to cut down dependencies introduced by broken libtool files.

There are some other interesting things on the horizon on the technical side of the project, as automatically built dbgsym packages (containing debug symbols, Ubuntu does that already), and the idea Simon Richter already talked about, which could really cut down the work the release team has with library transitions.

Installing Debian on an oldworld PPC

The victim was a PowerMac 9500 with a 300MHz G3 CPU, 200Mb RAM, a 9G HDD (with OS9 installed), and a 2G HDD (blank).

I hooked up a PowerBook to see the serial console output, since OpenFirmware only talks over the serial line. Then I finally found floppy images that would boot actually boot. They were from Woody, so I did a netinst using boot-floppies.

Unfortunately the Linux didn't come up after reboot. After resetting the nvram I could at least boot MacOS again and then start Linux via BootX. It took quite some fiddling with quik and the nvram till I had the direct boot working.

Subsequently I upgraded to etch, but I couldn't get a 2.6 kernel to boot. First I got a bus error from the IMS TwinTurbo graphics card driver, then the kernel "forgot" where the initramfs was loaded, which turned out to be a grave bug in the Debian kernel images (#366620).

I wrote patches for both bugs and now I finally have Etch with Linux 2.6 working. Whee!

The only sad thing is that all this took the better part of last week :-/

wmbutton: dockapp displaying configureable buttons


I have been using wmbutton for quite some time, and I think it's really nice. One thing that has always sucked was the need to recompile just to change the images. So I got the source code of the wmbutton Debian package and added the capability to change the images without a recompile. One day later I discovered that someone (ehflora) had already done this. I got his version and it looked a bit better then mine. While playing around I noticed that wmbutton was leaking memory, so I ran valgrind on it, which confirmed my suspicions. I fixed the Leaks and did some more code cleanup.

I've increased the version number to 0.6. The code is still quite a mess, but at least it's better then before. Feel free to further improve it if you like, there's plenty room for it ;-).


This program is released under the GPL version 2. A copy of the license may be obtained at

Screenshots and more can be found at:

Sourcecode Download

Debian packages

wmbutton is available directly from Debian. Check out the package page.