libiconv

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Introduction to libiconv

International text is mostly encoded in Unicode. For historical reasons, however, it is sometimes still encoded using a language or country dependent character encoding. With the advent of the internet and the frequent exchange of text across countries - even the viewing of a web page from a foreign country is a "text exchange" in this context -, conversions between these encodings have become a necessity.

In particular, computers with the Windows operating system still operate in locale with a traditional (limited) character encoding. Some programs, like mailers and web browsers, must be able to convert between a given text encoding and the user's encoding. Other programs internally store strings in Unicode, to facilitate internal processing, and need to convert between internal string representation (Unicode) and external string representation (a traditional encoding) when they are doing I/O. GNU libiconv is a conversion library for both kinds of applications.

Details

This library provides an iconv() implementation, for use on systems which don't have one, or whose implementation cannot convert from/to Unicode.

It provides support for the encodings:

European languages
ASCII, ISO-8859-{1,2,3,4,5,7,9,10,13,14,15,16}, KOI8-R, KOI8-U, KOI8-RU, CP{1250,1251,1252,1253,1254,1257}, CP{850,866,1131}, Mac{Roman,CentralEurope,Iceland,Croatian,Romania}, Mac{Cyrillic,Ukraine,Greek,Turkish}, Macintosh
Semitic languages
ISO-8859-{6,8}, CP{1255,1256}, CP862, Mac{Hebrew,Arabic}
Japanese
EUC-JP, SHIFT_JIS, CP932, ISO-2022-JP, ISO-2022-JP-2, ISO-2022-JP-1, ISO-2022-JP-MS
Chinese
EUC-CN, HZ, GBK, CP936, GB18030, EUC-TW, BIG5, CP950, BIG5-HKSCS, BIG5-HKSCS:2004, BIG5-HKSCS:2001, BIG5-HKSCS:1999, ISO-2022-CN, ISO-2022-CN-EXT
Korean
EUC-KR, CP949, ISO-2022-KR, JOHAB
Armenian
ARMSCII-8
Georgian
Georgian-Academy, Georgian-PS
Tajik
KOI8-T
Kazakh
PT154, RK1048
Thai
ISO-8859-11, TIS-620, CP874, MacThai
Laotian
MuleLao-1, CP1133
Vietnamese
VISCII, TCVN, CP1258
Platform specifics
HP-ROMAN8, NEXTSTEP
Full Unicode
UTF-8
UCS-2, UCS-2BE, UCS-2LE
UCS-4, UCS-4BE, UCS-4LE
UTF-16, UTF-16BE, UTF-16LE
UTF-32, UTF-32BE, UTF-32LE
UTF-7
C99, JAVA
Full Unicode, in terms of uint16_t or uint32_t (with machine dependent endianness and alignment)
UCS-2-INTERNAL, UCS-4-INTERNAL
Locale dependent, in terms of `char' or `wchar_t' (with machine dependent endianness and alignment, and with OS and locale dependent semantics)
char, wchar_t
The empty encoding name "" is equivalent to "char": it denotes the locale dependent character encoding.
When configured with the option --enable-extra-encodings, it also provides support for a few extra encodings:
European languages
CP{437,737,775,852,853,855,857,858,860,861,863,865,869,1125}
Semitic languages
CP864
Japanese
EUC-JISX0213, Shift_JISX0213, ISO-2022-JP-3
Chinese
BIG5-2003 (experimental)
Turkmen
TDS565
Platform specifics
ATARIST, RISCOS-LATIN1
It can convert from any of these encodings to any other, through Unicode conversion.

It has also some limited support for transliteration, i.e. when a character cannot be represented in the target character set, it can be approximated through one or several similarly looking characters. Transliteration is activated when "//TRANSLIT" is appended to the target encoding name.

libiconv is for you if your application needs to support multiple character encodings, but that support lacks from your system.

Installation

As usual for GNU packages:
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local
$ make
$ make install

After installing GNU libiconv for the first time, it is recommended to recompile and reinstall GNU gettext, so that it can take advantage of libiconv.

On systems other than GNU/Linux, the iconv program will be internationalized only if GNU gettext has been built and installed before GNU libiconv. This means that the first time GNU libiconv is installed, we have a circular dependency between the GNU libiconv and GNU gettext packages, which can be resolved by building and installing either

or (on systems supporting shared libraries, excluding AIX) Recall that before building a package for the second time, you need to erase the traces of the first build by running "make distclean".

This library can be built and installed in two variants:

Copyright

The libiconv and libcharset libraries and their header files are under LGPL.

The iconv program is under GPL.

Downloading libiconv

libiconv can be found at https://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/libiconv/. For other ways to obtain libiconv, please read How to get GNU Software.

The latest release is https://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/libiconv/libiconv-1.15.tar.gz

The latest development sources can be obtained through the savannah project.

Documentation

Below are the links for the online documentation.
The iconv program
iconv.1.html
The library functions
iconv_open.3.html
iconv.3.html
iconv_close.3.html
iconvctl.3.html
iconv_open_into.3.html

Bug reports

Bug reports should be sent to <bug-gnu-libiconv-antispam@antispam.gnu.org>.
Return to GNU's home page.

Please send general FSF & GNU inquiries to <gnu@gnu.org>. There are also other ways to contact the FSF.
Please send broken links and other corrections or suggestions to <bug-gnu-libiconv-antispam@antispam.gnu.org>.

Copyright (C) 1998, 2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

Last updated: $Date: 2017/02/11 13:30:21 $ $Author: haible $