Ankur - Supporting Bangla (Bengali) on GNU/Linux
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Bengali Locale Mini HOWTO

This howto is not intended to explain how to create a locale definition file, we will just explain how to use the Bengali locale definition on Linux. In this howto, we will use the bn_BD definition file, which is for Bangladeshi Bengali. However, the Indian Bengali definition file, i.e. bn_IN, can be used in the same manner.

The bn_BD file should come with the latest glibc package. in case you have an older glibc, you can download this file from the download section of Ankur's web page.

  • Make sure you have some Unicode encoded Bengali fonts installed on your system. Check the download section if you need one.
  • Now issue the following command as root:
                      localedef -c -f UTF-8 -i bn_BD bn_BD.UTF-8
    This makes your system ready to be used with bn_BD locale definition.
  • Now make sure your X server is ready for Bengali locale. Check the following file in directory
    • locale.dir: This file should have the following two lines:
                      en_US.UTF-8/XLC_LOCALE       bn_BD.UTF-8
                      en_US.UTF-8/XLC_LOCALE:      bn_BD.UTF-8

Now your system is ready to use bn_BD.UTF-8 locale. For example, I use the following command to open up an xterm with my own crappy font:

 LC_ALL=bn_BD.UTF-8 xterm -fn "-misc-Probhat-medium-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso10646-1" -u8

Remember, if you want to use Bengali in any application, you will have to start that application under an environment where the locale was set to bn_BD.UTF-8, otherwise it won't work.

Please send any comments you have so we can make this HOWTO more helpful.

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Copyright (c) 2002, Taneem Ahmed <>