All of the following is from a Unix StackExchange post. I am posting it here for posterity. Thank you to dchrome.
I tested the solution on Fedora 21 with GNOME Shell 3.14.4, but I believe it can be applied to other versions as well.
First thing to understand is that GNOME desktop environment overrides the system-wide locale definitions and thus is not affected by /etc/locale.conf. In addition, there are might be applications that have their own locale configuration and don’t use the system or GNOME settings at all. In this guide I will describe a way to customize the locale settings to your needs and GNOME and the system will be consistent from the locale perspective.
From Fedora 21 System Administrator’s Guide:
System-wide locale settings are stored in the
/etc/locale.conffile, which is read at early boot by the systemd daemon. The locale settings configured in
/etc/locale.confare inherited by every service or user, unless individual programs or individual users override them.
To see the current locale status we can run:
$ localectl status System Locale: LANG=en_US.UTF-8 LC_NUMERIC=en_US.UTF-8 LC_TIME=en_US.UTF-8 LC_MONETARY=en_US.UTF-8 LC_PAPER=en_US.UTF-8 LC_MEASUREMENT=en_US.UTF-8 VC Keymap: us X11 Layout: us
$ gsettings get org.gnome.system.locale region 'en_US.UTF-8'
GNOME has only one setting. By giving a quick look at the source code of
it seems that when the
set_localed_locale() function is called, it sets all
the following categories (LC_TIME, LC_NUMERIC, LC_MONETARY, LC_MEASUREMENT,
LC_PAPER) to the same one locale defined in
Mixing different locale settings seems impossible without creating a custom locale, but fortunately it’s not a very complex task.
I think the easiest way to explain is by example. In my specific case I wanted
to have a custom locale, primarily based on Hebrew (he_IL) but with
LC_NAME, LC_MESSAGES from en_US and LC_TIME (with modified
first_workday) from en_GB.
You should have an idea which locales you want to mix. First we need to locate
the related definition files, which can be found in
Back to my example, I needed the following: he_IL, en_US and en_GB.
I set up a working folder in my home and copied the required files into it:
$ cd /usr/share/i18n/locales $ mkdir -v ~/custom-locale ; cp -v he_IL en_US en_GB ~/custom-locale/
I decided to call my locale hc_IL and took he_IL as a basis. The
following lines create a new file
hc_IL with the contents from
he_IL and on
the way replace all the occurrences of a string he_IL inside the file with
$ cd ~/custom-locale/ $ sed 's/he_IL/hc_IL/g' he_IL > hc_IL
Now we can customize the new locale to our needs. Open the newly created file
~/custom-locale/hc_IL with your favorite text editor. I use vim (it has
proper syntax highlighting for locale definition files):
$ vim ~/custom-locale/hc_IL
For those who haven’t chosen their favorite editor yet and vim is not their cup of tea, can use gedit :)
$ gedit ~/custom-locale/hc_IL
The file structure is not very complicated. Essentially, it is constructed from sections. From locale(5) man pages:
The locale definition has one part for each locale category. Each part can be copied from another existing locale or can be defined from scratch. If the category should be copied, the only valid keyword in the definition is copy followed by the name of the locale which should be copied.
The notion of copy is very useful. It saves time and the resulting file is clear and concise. For example, instead of copying entire sections around, you can have:
LC_MESSAGES copy "en_US" END LC_MESSAGES
The complete documentation on a locale definition file can be accessed via:
$ man 5 locale
Although, if you just want to create a custom locale, which is a mix of existing ones there’s no need to understand every detail.
In my case I modified the following categories and keywords:
title "Custom Hebrew locale" source "mydomain.ws" address "http:////www.mydomain.ws" contact "" email "firstname.lastname@example.org" tel "" fax "" language "Hebrew" territory "Israel" revision "1.0" date "2015-04-21"
Note: All the “category..” lines in the LC_IDENTIFICATION section
have been modified during the file creation using
sed. So we don’t need to
touch them anymore.
I copied the complete section from en_GB and modified only the lines that indicate the first day of week and the first work day:
first_weekday 1 first_workday 1
copydirective as in:
LC_NAME copy "en_US" END LC_NAME
That’s it, the definition file is ready. Don’t forget to save the file :)
Compilation of the new locale is done using the following command as root or
using sudo. Replace
hc_IL with your locale:
$ sudo localedef -c -v -i hc_IL -f UTF-8 hc_IL.UTF-8
If the compilation is successful the compiled locale data is added to the
Copy the new locale definition file to the locale definitions directory. Replace
hc_IL with your locale:
$ sudo cp -v hc_IL /usr/share/i18n/locales/
In this step we want to configure the system and GNOME to use the new locale.
/etc/locale.conf file as root and set every line that starts with
LC_ to your new locale. For example:
LANG=en_US.UTF-8 LC_NUMERIC=hc_IL.utf8 LC_TIME=hc_IL.utf8 LC_MONETARY=hc_IL.utf8 LC_PAPER=hc_IL.utf8 LC_MEASUREMENT=hc_IL.utf8
To activate the new locale in GNOME run the following command. Replace
with your locale:
$ gsettings set org.gnome.system.locale region "hc_IL.utf8"
The last step is to validate that everything works as expected. To reload all the settings the easiest for me was to reboot.
Refer to the section “Checking Current Locale Status” to check that the system configuration is correct.
Use GNOME Shell and locale dependent applications (graphical and console) and check that they behave as expected with the new locale. E.g. if you customized LC_TIME you can run the date command to validate the date format:
$ date +%x 21/04/15