Debian installs with a UTF-8 locale by default as of Debian 4.0 “Etch”.
If you have an older release of Debian, or upgraded from an older release to Etch, you can enable UTF-8 by running
dpkg-reconfigure locales, enabling the
en_US.UTF-8 locale, and setting it as the system default. You may need to reboot so that the change takes effect in all running applications.
If this automatic configuration script doesn’t work, add the line
/etc/locale.gen, and run
locale-gen; then in