Making the Raspberry Pi a little less British

Raspberry Pi

After a month and a half of obsessively checking for status updates, I finally received my Raspberry Pi yesterday. I love it!

The first thing I noticed after booting up the stock Debian image was that things are set up for British users. Most annoyingly, the symbols on the keyboard weren’t where I expected them to be. To arrive at a more Canadian configuration, I did the following.

First, I changed the system locale, turning off en_GB.UTF-8 and turning on en_CA.UTF-8:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

Next, I changed the keyboard layout:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

Next, I changed the time zone:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

And finally, I changed to a Canadian Debian mirror by editing the “sources.list” file:

sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list

On the first line, I changed “ftp.uk.debian.org” to “ftp.ca.debian.org”:

deb http://ftp.ca.debian.org/debian/ squeeze main

# Nokia Qt5 development
deb http://archive.qmh-project.org/rpi/debian/ unstable main

After rebooting (sudo reboot) and updating my package list (sudo apt-get update) I had a pleasantly Canadian Pi. πŸ™‚

UPDATE: Rohan Kapoor has turned these instructions into an excellent tutorial with lots of screenshots: “Americanizing” the Raspberry Pi. I highly recommend it if you’re a beginner having trouble following my instructions.

11 thoughts on “Making the Raspberry Pi a little less British”

  1. Should you have waited for the Raspberry Pi-A? πŸ™‚

    Seriously, isn’t it lovely to have a computer that isn’t US-centric? It’s fair enough that the default settings suit the country of origin, and we’ve not had that since Acorn imploded, but it’s been galling to have countless versions of Windows where English (United Kingdom) is an option – the default English could at least be labelled ‘American’ or ‘International’!!!

    Enjoying your blog and looking forward to seeing what else you do – thanks for pointers I’ve picked up on using serial!

  2. Running the current debian6-19-04-2012 build, with an attached Apple Extended USB Keyboard I found that sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration failed – I was first prompted for my keyboard model, and whatever I selected for the model, the next screen (keyboard layout) only provided British options. There may be a workaround or intermediate step which I missed, but I ended up just modifying /etc/default/keyboard and setting XKBLAYOUT="us" manually.

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