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Bug#50781: no documentation on setting locale for reading 8bit characters

Package: locales
Version: 2.1.2-10

I would like to ask you how to set up Linux for reading 8bit documents
properly.  less is not displaying them as it should, and I have a similar
problem reading 8bit messages inside mutt. The maintainers of these packages
(mutt bug #48408 and less bug #32166), said that the solution is to "set the
locale properly" via the environment variables LANG or LC_TYPE.

But the problem is that there is no documentation on how to set the locale.
I repeat, despite the comments of the mutt maintainer about "TFM", there is NO
DOCUMENTATION ON SETTING THE LOCALE.  In /usr/doc/locale there are some
brief comments on compiling programs with a given locale, but that is not
what I need. 

What I need to do is simply set either LANG or LC_TYPE. But which? And to what?
Thomas Schoepf, the less maintainer, suggests setting LANG to de_DE, and this
does in fact allow me to read 8bit documents, but has the bad side-effect of
putting all system messages into German, which is not terribly helpful.  I
hope you understand.  But if I set LANG to en_EN, ie having the system in
English (but with the intention or reading 8bit documents), then I am once
again unable to read any 8bit documents.  The characters above 128 come out
as hex.

Please help.  Better documentation explaining the procedure in
/usr/doc/locales would be desirable.

Drew Parsons

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