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How do I get the box-drawing characters to look right for Debian Installer? (SOLVED)



On Sat, 29 Jun 2013 15:37:42 -0400 (EDT), Stephen Powell wrote:
> 
> As you know, the installation procedure for Debian on the s390 and s390x
> architectures involves using the Integrated System Console (or the virtual
> 3215 console in a virtual machine under z/VM) to get the network device
> configured, then logging in as "installer" using a remote SSH client to
> finish the rest of the installation.  I have learned from experience that
> when my remote SSH client is PuTTY running under Windows, I can get the
> box-drawing characters in the Debian installer to look right by selecting
> "UTF-8" as the character set in the PuTTY configuration.  If I use Lat-1,
> or some other character set, the box-drawing characters don't look right.
> 
> Recently, however, I tried a Debian install for s390x (wheezy) using the
> Linux SSH client running under Linux on an Intel box instead of PuTTY
> running under Windows.  (Debian package openssh-client, command ssh.)
> I used a virtual terminal, vt2 in this case, rather than an xterm window
> or something similar (i.e. gnome-terminal).  I can connect just fine,
> but the box-drawing characters don't look right.  I can't find any way
> to configure the Linux ssh client to make the box-drawing characters
> display properly.
> 
> How do I get the Linux ssh client to work with the Debian installer to get
> the box-drawing characters to look right?  Or must I use Windows to
> install Debian?

Well, I'm answering my own post.  Sorry about that.  But maybe it will
help others.  I guess I didn't do enough digging before posting my question.
But anyway, here's the answer.

The Linux ssh client apparently does not have a mechanism for independently
specifying the character mapping, as PuTTY does.  If it does, I haven't
discovered it.  The Linux ssh client relies on the character mapping of
the host Linux system under which it runs.  You have to change that to UTF-8
if you want to have the box characters of the Debian installer running on
a remote s390 or s390x host look right.  You specify that in two different
places: one for xterm sessions under the X Window system (or a substitute
application for xterm, such as Gnome Terminal) and the other for virtual
terminals (vt1-vt6).

Login as root.  Enter the command

   dpkg-reconfigure locales

Select appropriate locales.  On my system, I selected en_US, en_US.ISO-8859-15,
and en_US.UTF-8.  Select OK.  On the next screen, you select a default locale
for the system.  I selected en_US.UTF-8.  Complete the configuration.  This
changes the character mapping for stuff under the X Window System.  Now enter

   dpkg-reconfigure console-setup

On the first screen, you select the encoding to use on the console.  Select
UTF-8, then select OK.  Finish the configuration.  This changes the character
mapping for virtual consoles.  Now shutdown and reboot.

Upon reboot, the ssh client will use UTF-8 character mappings, whether you
run it in a terminal window under the X Window system or whether you run it
in a virtual terminal.  And the box characters of the Debian installer will
look right for the remote s390/s390x host.

-- 
  .''`.     Stephen Powell    
 : :'  :
 `. `'`
   `-


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