iconv_open - allocate descriptor for character set conversion
iconv_t iconv_open(const char *tocode, const char *fromcode);
The iconv_open() function allocates a conversion descriptor suitable for
converting byte sequences from character encoding fromcode to character
The values permitted for fromcode and tocode and the
supported combinations are system-dependent. For the GNU C library, the
permitted values are listed by the iconv --list command, and all
combinations of the listed values are supported. Furthermore the GNU C
library and the GNU libiconv library support the following two suffixes:
- When the string "//TRANSLIT" is appended to tocode,
transliteration is activated. This means that when a character cannot be
represented in the target character set, it can be approximated through
one or several similarly looking characters.
- When the string "//IGNORE" is appended to tocode,
characters that cannot be represented in the target character set will be
The resulting conversion descriptor can be used with
iconv(3) any number of times. It remains valid until deallocated
A conversion descriptor contains a conversion state. After
creation using iconv_open(), the state is in the initial state. Using
iconv(3) modifies the descriptor's conversion state. To bring the
state back to the initial state, use iconv(3) with NULL as
The iconv_open() function returns a freshly allocated conversion
descriptor. In case of error, it sets errno and returns
The following error can occur, among others:
- The conversion from fromcode to tocode is not supported by
This function is available in glibc since version 2.1.
For an explanation of the terms used in this section, see attributes(7).
POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008, SUSv2.
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