The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 7
IEEE Std 1003.1-2008
Copyright © 2001-2008 The IEEE and The Open Group


localedef - define locale environment


localedef [-c] [-f charmap] [-i sourcefile] [-u code_set_name] name


The localedef utility shall convert source definitions for locale categories into a format usable by the functions and utilities whose operational behavior is determined by the setting of the locale environment variables defined in XBD Locale . It is implementation-defined whether users have the capability to create new locales, in addition to those supplied by the implementation. If the symbolic constant POSIX2_LOCALEDEF is defined, the system supports the creation of new locales. [XSI] [Option Start]  On XSI-conformant systems, the symbolic constant POSIX2_LOCALEDEF shall be defined. [Option End]

The utility shall read source definitions for one or more locale categories belonging to the same locale from the file named in the -i option (if specified) or from standard input.

The name operand identifies the target locale. The utility shall support the creation of public, or generally accessible locales, as well as private, or restricted-access locales. Implementations may restrict the capability to create or modify public locales to users with appropriate privileges.

Each category source definition shall be identified by the corresponding environment variable name and terminated by an END category-name statement. The following categories shall be supported. In addition, the input may contain source for implementation-defined categories.

Defines character classification and case conversion.

Defines collation rules.

Defines the format and symbols used in formatting of monetary information.

Defines the decimal delimiter, grouping, and grouping symbol for non-monetary numeric editing.
Defines the format and content of date and time information.

Defines the format and values of affirmative and negative responses.


The localedef utility shall conform to XBD Utility Syntax Guidelines .

The following options shall be supported:

Create permanent output even if warning messages have been issued.
-f  charmap
Specify the pathname of a file containing a mapping of character symbols and collating element symbols to actual character encodings. The format of the charmap is described in XBD Character Set Description File . The application shall ensure that this option is specified if symbolic names (other than collating symbols defined in a collating-symbol keyword) are used. If the -f option is not present, an implementation-defined character mapping shall be used.
-i  inputfile
The pathname of a file containing the source definitions. If this option is not present, source definitions shall be read from standard input. The format of the inputfile is described in XBD Locale Definition .
-u  code_set_name

Specify the name of a codeset used as the target mapping of character symbols and collating element symbols whose encoding values are defined in terms of the ISO/IEC 10646-1:2000 standard position constant values.


The following operand shall be supported:

Identifies the locale; see XBD Locale for a description of the use of this name. If the name contains one or more <slash> characters, name shall be interpreted as a pathname where the created locale definitions shall be stored. If name does not contain any <slash> characters, the interpretation of the name is implementation-defined and the locale shall be public. The ability to create public locales in this way may be restricted to users with appropriate privileges. (As a consequence of specifying one name, although several categories can be processed in one execution, only categories belonging to the same locale can be processed.)


Unless the -i option is specified, the standard input shall be a text file containing one or more locale category source definitions, as described in XBD Locale Definition . When lines are continued using the escape character mechanism, there is no limit to the length of the accumulated continued line.


The character set mapping file specified as the charmap option-argument is described in XBD Character Set Description File . If a locale category source definition contains a copy statement, as defined in XBD Locale , and the copy statement names a valid, existing locale, then localedef shall behave as if the source definition had contained a valid category source definition for the named locale.


The following environment variables shall affect the execution of localedef:

Provide a default value for the internationalization variables that are unset or null. (See XBD Internationalization Variables for the precedence of internationalization variables used to determine the values of locale categories.)
If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of all the other internationalization variables.

(This variable has no affect on localedef; the POSIX locale is used for this category.)
Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of text data as characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to multi-byte characters in arguments and input files). This variable has no affect on the processing of localedef input data; the POSIX locale is used for this purpose, regardless of the value of this variable.

Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format and contents of diagnostic messages written to standard error.
[XSI] [Option Start] Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing of LC_MESSAGES . [Option End]




The utility shall report all categories successfully processed, in an unspecified format.


The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.


The format of the created output is unspecified. If the name operand does not contain a <slash>, the existence of an output file for the locale is unspecified.


When the -u option is used, the code_set_name option-argument shall be interpreted as an implementation-defined name of a codeset to which the ISO/IEC 10646-1:2000 standard position constant values shall be converted via an implementation-defined method. Both the ISO/IEC 10646-1:2000 standard position constant values and other formats (decimal, hexadecimal, or octal) shall be valid as encoding values within the charmap file. The codeset represented by the implementation-defined name can be any codeset that is supported by the implementation.

When conflicts occur between the charmap specification of <code_set_name>, <mb_cur_max>, or <mb_cur_min> and the implementation-defined interpretation of these respective items for the codeset represented by the -u option-argument code_set_name, the result is unspecified.

When conflicts occur between the charmap encoding values specified for symbolic names of characters of the portable character set and the implementation-defined assignment of character encoding values, the result is unspecified.

If a non-printable character in the charmap has a width specified that is not -1, the result will be undefined.


The following exit values shall be returned:

No errors occurred and the locales were successfully created.
Warnings occurred and the locales were successfully created.
The locale specification exceeded implementation limits or the coded character set or sets used were not supported by the implementation, and no locale was created.
The capability to create new locales is not supported by the implementation.
Warnings or errors occurred and no output was created.


If an error is detected, no permanent output shall be created.

If warnings occur, permanent output shall be created if the -c option was specified. The following conditions shall cause warning messages to be issued:

Other implementation-defined conditions may also cause warnings.

The following sections are informative.


The charmap definition is optional, and is contained outside the locale definition. This allows both completely self-defined source files, and generic sources (applicable to more than one codeset). To aid portability, all charmap definitions must use the same symbolic names for the portable character set. As explained in XBD Character Set Description File , it is implementation-defined whether or not users or applications can provide additional character set description files. Therefore, the -f option might be operable only when an implementation-defined charmap is named.




The output produced by the localedef utility is implementation-defined. The name operand is used to identify the specific locale. (As a consequence, although several categories can be processed in one execution, only categories belonging to the same locale can be processed.)





XBD Character Set Description File , Locale , Environment Variables , Utility Syntax Guidelines


First released in Issue 4.

Issue 6

The -u option is added, as specified in the IEEE P1003.2b draft standard.

The normative text is reworded to avoid use of the term "must" for application requirements.

IEEE Std 1003.1-2001/Cor 2-2004, item XCU/TC2/D6/15 is applied, rewording text in the OPERANDS section describing the ability to create public locales.

IEEE Std 1003.1-2001/Cor 2-2004, item XCU/TC2/D6/16 is applied, making the text consistent with the descriptions of WIDTH and WIDTH_DEFAULT in the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1-2008.

Issue 7

SD5-XCU-ERN-97 is applied, updating the SYNOPSIS.

End of informative text.


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