size_t iconv(iconv_t cd,
char **inbuf, size_t *inbytesleft,
char **outbuf, size_t *outbytesleft);
The iconv() function converts a sequence of characters in one character
encoding to a sequence of characters in another character encoding.
The cd argument is a conversion descriptor, previously created by a
call to iconv_open(3); the conversion descriptor defines the character
encodings that iconv() uses for the conversion. The inbuf argument is
the address of a variable that points to the first character of the
input sequence; inbytesleft indicates the number of bytes in that buf-
fer. The outbuf argument is the address of a variable that points to
the first byte available in the output buffer; outbytesleft indicates
the number of bytes available in the output buffer.
The main case is when inbuf is not NULL and *inbuf is not NULL. In
this case, the iconv() function converts the multibyte sequence start-
ing at *inbuf to a multibyte sequence starting at *outbuf. At most
*inbytesleft bytes, starting at *inbuf, will be read. At most *out-
bytesleft bytes, starting at *outbuf, will be written.
The iconv() function converts one multibyte character at a time, and
for each character conversion it increments *inbuf and decrements
*inbytesleft by the number of converted input bytes, it increments
*outbuf and decrements *outbytesleft by the number of converted output
bytes, and it updates the conversion state contained in cd. If the
character encoding of the input is stateful, the iconv() function can
also convert a sequence of input bytes to an update to the conversion
state without producing any output bytes; such input is called a shift
sequence. The conversion can stop for four reasons:
1. An invalid multibyte sequence is encountered in the input. In this
case it sets errno to EILSEQ and returns (size_t) -1. *inbuf is
left pointing to the beginning of the invalid multibyte sequence.
2. The input byte sequence has been entirely converted, that is,
*inbytesleft has gone down to 0. In this case iconv() returns the
number of nonreversible conversions performed during this call.
3. An incomplete multibyte sequence is encountered in the input, and
the input byte sequence terminates after it. In this case it sets
errno to EINVAL and returns (size_t) -1. *inbuf is left pointing to
the beginning of the incomplete multibyte sequence.
4. The output buffer has no more room for the next converted character.
In this case it sets errno to E2BIG and returns (size_t) -1.
A different case is when inbuf is NULL or *inbuf is NULL, but outbuf is
not NULL and *outbuf is not NULL. In this case, the iconv() function
The iconv() function returns the number of characters converted in a
nonreversible way during this call; reversible conversions are not
counted. In case of error, it sets errno and returns (size_t) -1.
The following errors can occur, among others:
E2BIG There is not sufficient room at *outbuf.
EILSEQ An invalid multibyte sequence has been encountered in the input.
EINVAL An incomplete multibyte sequence has been encountered in the
This function is available in glibc since version 2.1.
Although inbuf and outbuf are typed as char **, this does not mean that
the objects they point can be interpreted as C strings or as arrays of
characters: the interpretation of character byte sequences is handled
internally by the conversion functions. In some encodings, a zero byte
may be a valid part of a multibyte character.
The caller of iconv() must ensure that the pointers passed to the func-
tion are suitable for accessing characters in the appropriate character
set. This includes ensuring correct alignment on platforms that have
tight restrictions on alignment.
This page is part of release 3.54 of the Linux man-pages project. A
description of the project, and information about reporting bugs, can
be found at http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.
GNU 2012-05-10 ICONV(3)
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