In order to turn off localisation features one should set the LANG environment variable to "C".

Why "C"? Where did it come from?

1 Answer 1


In the C programming language, the locale name C “specifies the minimal environment for C translation” (C99 §; the principle has been the same since at least the 1980s). As most operating systems are written in C, especially the Unix-inspired ones where locales are set through the LANG and LC_xxx environment variables, C ends up being the name of a “safe” locale everywhere.

POSIX specifies that both C and POSIX must be valid locale names, with the same neutral settings.

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