Unicode character problems on Linux server accessed via Putty

Q Whenever I connect to my Linux server (Fedora) over Putty I get funny French-looking characters replacing some punctuation characters when viewing man pages. This does not happen when I log in at the console.

A Unicode is a character coding system designed to support more than just the Latin alphabet and the various European accentuations and other eccentricities. UTF-8 is an 8-bit encoding form for the Unicode character set and is quickly becoming the encoding scheme of choice across the board. For a good read on Unicode and UTF-8 check out their entries in Wikipedia and Paul Hudson's PHP tutorial on page 92. Most recent Linux distributions use UTF-8 as the default encoding for most locales yet your SSH client may be defaulting to the Latin-1 character set (ISO-8859-1). This will surely garble up more than just man pages, making Ncurses-based applications that use pretty borders and so forth look impressively hideous. To set Putty to use UTF-8, follow the menus through Window > Translation > Character Set On Received Data = UTF-8. While there is nothing to gain in permanently changing the default character set away from UTF-8, it is easy to switch to Latin-1 when logged in by changing the LANG environment variable:

$ export LANG=en_GB.ISO-8859-1

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