Since 2017-03-31 Locales package has been removed

Bug #1682305 reported by Morgan Goose on 2017-04-12
This bug affects 8 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Dan Watkins

Bug Description

This package has been removed from the base xenial distributed tars. It's breaking some downstream integrations of ours that expected it to be present. Was this intentional?

description: updated
Dan Watkins (oddbloke) wrote :

Hi Morgan,

Could you clarify which downloads you are seeing this problem in?



Changed in cloud-images:
status: New → Incomplete

the last one to have it is:

these do not:

On Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 06:35 Dan Watkins <email address hidden>

> Hi Morgan,
> Could you clarify which downloads you are seeing this problem in?
> Thanks,
> Dan
> ** Changed in: cloud-images
> Status: New => Incomplete
> --
> You received this bug notification because you are subscribed to the bug
> report.
> Title:
> Since 2017-03-31 Locales package has been removed
> Status in cloud-images:
> Incomplete
> Bug description:
> This package has been removed from the base xenial distributed tars.
> It's breaking some downstream integrations of ours that expected it to
> be present. Was this intentional?
> To manage notifications about this bug go to:

Mitar (mitar) wrote :

This has also been reported for Docker images:

Morgan Goose (morgan-goose) wrote :

Any thoughts on this issue, and an ETA on it's resolution? Seems pretty straight forward to add it back in?

Dan Watkins (oddbloke) wrote :

Right, this looks like the consequence of an internal rename; the "ubuntu-core" project in livecd-rootfs was renamed to "ubuntu-base" and we didn't keep up.

We're code-reviewing (what I believe to be) the fix internally, and I'll generate a new tarball once that's done.

Changed in cloud-images:
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
assignee: nobody → Dan Watkins (daniel-thewatkins)
status: Confirmed → In Progress
Dan Watkins (oddbloke) wrote :

Hello all,

My initial investigation of this issue turns out to have been mistaken; I was misreading the build logs and thought this was an issue that we've previously fixed in other releases.

The images available at are intended for use within Docker and other places where an extremely small image footprint is desirable. For a majority of use cases, locales and timezone data take up extra space without being used. We _have_ intentionally removed these from minimal images, as it reduces the size of the Docker image by ~8%. This represents a substantial space saving, and a corresponding increase in container density.

If you need locales and/or tzdata for your application, you'll want to modify your scripting to install them specifically. If you don't actually need or want a super-minimal image, then you would probably be better served by consuming the images available from



Changed in cloud-images:
status: In Progress → Won't Fix
Morgan Goose (morgan-goose) wrote :

Where is this PR, since as it stands this is an undocumented breaking change. I'd rather a working image than a smaller one, especially since I see you've saved only 4MB here.

Jordan (pielj) wrote :

That's disappointing, this breaks our CI pipeline and I imagine it does for others as well. I understand the need need/want for a minimal image, but removing packages from an image after coming to expect them there is really throwing a wrench in our gears.

Was this change discussed anywhere? At this point in time I have to consider these minimum images unreliable if at any point in time a package can be dropped for the sake of "saving space".

Martin Smith (martinb3) wrote :

+1 this seems like an undocumented, breaking change that snuck in to a release that shouldn't have any breaking changes.

Tianon Gravi (tianon) on 2017-04-22
tags: added: docker
Rasmus Larsen (rla-2) wrote :

I am all for this change in general, minimal images are great and there are many cases where locales aren't needed... However, I don't believe it's reasonable to introduce this in the middle of a release cycle.

Essentially you're causing thousands of hours of debugging for users of your images, at a time where we just don't expect breakages and therefore aren't looking for upstream caused breakages. I would suggest saving these breaking changes for new releases or alternatively releasing these minimisation improvements into a special "unstable/minimal" package.

If you continually make these kinds of changes, you'll severely reduce the value of the images.

Morgan Goose (morgan-goose) wrote :

@daniel-thewatkins can you elaborate on the above concerns? It does seem that a breaking change should not have been introduced into the images at this time.

Ian Hinder (ian-hinder) wrote :

This issue just wasted about half an hour of my time, as it broke a docker build. I don't understand why a package would be removed from this version of Ubuntu after it has been released. It is particularly inappropriate because this is an LTS version! Imagine if a desktop user suddenly found their OS didn't work any more after installing updates. That surely wouldn't be allowed. Why is it being allowed here? I agree with the above commenters; this is a regression, and should have waited for the next release.

Tao Wang (twang2218) wrote :

This is a breaking change, it's definitely a bug, which broken many docker images depends on ubuntu image.

It's definitely NOT a feature of small footprint! A feature shouldn't break other packages/images depends on it. Please add `locale` and `tzdata` back.

Morgan Goose (morgan-goose) wrote :

Can this be reopened? It's a bug, and needs to be addressed

tags: added: id-58f50fe80055926ad08d6c70
Scott Enderle (scott-enderle) wrote :

I agree this is a bug. This broke basic file management in Python 2. Without a UTF-8 locale, by default Python 2 tries to convert filenames to ascii and chokes on unicode characters. No degree of minimalism justifies breaking unicode support in a modern operating system.

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