Getting ÆØÅ to Work in mutt / putty

After reinstalling the server (see the previous post), mutt didn’t show the norwegian letters ÆØÅ properly any longer (.. and yes, I use mutt to read my E-mails. Nothing else comes close.) .. The issue was apparently related to the settings for the current locale, but a quick check showed things to be perfectly valid (.. although not UTF-8, but that’s another issue):

mats@computer:~$ locale

Why didn’t mutt show the proper letters then? Everything seems to be OK .. Instead, it just kept showing “?” where either of ÆØÅ should be.

Well, the settings are one thing, but if the locale itself isn’t available, things ain’t gonna be any better. So let’s fix that:

apt-get install locale-all

And .. well, at least we have the locale available now, but before we can use it, we need to generate the binary version. Find /etc/locale.gen and open the file in a suitable editor.

Find the line for the locale you’re using and uncomment it:

# nb_NO ISO-8859-1
# nb_NO.UTF-8 UTF-8


nb_NO ISO-8859-1
nb_NO.UTF-8 UTF-8

Then run ‘locale-gen’ as root. Wait a few seconds and the locales will be generated. Run mutt. Be happy.

Writing in English or Norwegian?

Tobias has a post about wether he should choose one language and stick to that at his blog, or if he should keep mixing norwegian and english like he does now. I’ve given this issue quite a bit of thought as I’m currently writing my blog in English, but I write professionally (for using Norwegian and I’ve written several starter articles and documentation tidbits in Norwegian (most of this material is also already extensivly covered in English).

The reasoning behind writing my blog in English is that most articles I write is meant to serve as a resource for both myself and other people who are experiencing the same issues and searches for help through search engines like Google and Yahoo!. I feel that by writing my blog in English, I make the information available to as many people that I’m able to reach. I’ve several times stumbled across help on non-english blogs, and although translation tools are available, they tend to make things a bit more confusing. Using English as my primary language on my blog also enables me to participate in discussions and writing posts that are aimed at the general user groups of my fields of expertise.

Although I’ve decided to keep my blog English, I will post the occasional article in Norwegian. I’ll keep these to a category by itself on the blog, and I’ll keep them away from the front page (but I may write a short summary in English and keep link to the Norwegian post). This way I’ll keep the blog as a useful resource both to those who come here from a search engine and to those who subscribe to my RSS feed. If you read an English post and then got Norwegian articles in your RSS feed, you’d probably be confused and start wondering about how you could unsubscribe. The signal/noise ratio for this blog would exceed what you’d find acceptable.

So Tobias, my suggestion: stick to one language on the front page, but provide a category for posts in the other language. Provide an RSS feed for each language and one that merges both languages (for those of us that are bilingual) if you decide to write in two different languages. And never mix languages in the same post (<pun>except for programming languages</pun>).

Wether that language should be English or Norwegian will have to depend on your goal for the blog and who you’re writing for.