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  • infos = Information about iconv plugin is in keys below
  • infos/author = Markus Raab elektra@libelektra.org
  • infos/licence = BSD
  • infos/provides = conv
  • infos/needs =
  • infos/placements = postgetstorage presetstorage
  • infos/status = maintained unittest libc
  • infos/description = Converts values of keys between charsets


This plugin is a filter plugin that converts between different character encodings.


Consider a user insisting on a latin1 character encoding because of some old application. All other users already use, for example, UTF-8. For these users, the configuration files are encoded in UTF-8. So we need a solution for the user with latin1 to access the key database with proper encoding.

On the other hand, contemplate an XML file which requires a specific encoding. But the other key databases work well with the users encoding. So a quick fix for that backend is needed to feed that XML file with a different encoding.

The iconv plugin provides a solution for both scenarios. It converts between many available character encodings. With the plugin’s configuration the user can change the from and to encoding. The default values of the plugin configuration are: from encoding will be determined at run-time. to encoding is UTF-8.


  • to is per default UTF-8, to have unicode configuration files
  • from is per default the users locale

Note that for writing the configuration from and to is swapped. A key database that requires a specific encoding can make use of it. To sum up, every user can select a different encoding, but the key databases are still properly encoded for anyone.


For example iconv/iconv.ini should be latin1, but all users have UTF-8 settings:

# Mount the file `iconv/iconv.ini` using the `ini` plugin together with `iconv`
sudo kdb mount "$PWD/src/plugins/iconv/iconv/iconv.ini" system/tests/iconv ini iconv from=UTF-8,to=ISO-8859-1

# Check the file type of the mounted file
file -b "`kdb file system/tests/iconv`"
#> ISO-8859 text

kdb get system/tests/iconv/a         # converts ISO-8859 to UTF-8
#> hellö

kdb set system/tests/iconv/a öäß     # converts UTF-8 to ISO-8859
kdb get system/tests/iconv/a
#> öäß

# Cleanup
kdb set system/tests/iconv/a hellö
sudo kdb umount system/tests/iconv