Home > linux, script > Batch convert files to UTF-8

Batch convert files to UTF-8

In my daily job as DBA I need to convert a lot of files from ISO-8859-1 to UTF-8. This files are commonly SQL scripts generated on Windows environments and I have to execute them in linux servers (Red Hat or Ubuntu) against UTF-8 databases.These scripts usually have characters in Spanish and Catalan (tildes, ñ, ç, etc.) and I need to convert to UTF-8 to avoid getting errors due to invalid characters.

I’ve tried with iconv, specifying as output file the same name as the input file:

$ iconv -f ISO-8859-1 -t utf-8 file.sql -o file.sql

but if the file is greater than 32KB I get this:

Bus error

To avoid this I’ve created a script (2utf8.sh):

if [ $# -lt 1 ]
  echo "Use: "$0" <file_name>"
  echo "Convert files from ISO-8859-1 to UTF8"

for i in $*
  if [ ! -f $i ]; then # Only convert text files
  # Generate temp file to avoid Bus error
  iconv -f ISO-8859-1 -t utf-8 $i -o $i.tmp
  mv $i.tmp $i

You just have to run it with the name of the file to convert, or using wildcards:

$ 2utf8.sh *.sql

Hope this help you!

Categories: linux, script
  1. David James
    March 15, 2021 at 19:51

    Posted 10 years ago and still useful thank you.


  2. Elena~ (⌒ω⌒)
    May 16, 2020 at 10:13

    Thanks, thanks a lot. I was getting in some files “Bus error (core dumped)” and I didn’t understand why… Then, I saw those files were being cut and some of the information was lost, but with your small script everything is correct.

    Thank you very much, I really appreciate this.
    Elena~ (⌒ω⌒)


  3. Arya
    December 24, 2019 at 8:07

    Thank YOU! Echoing everything the two others who posted. You are a savior!


  4. Infin1ty
    January 16, 2018 at 19:47

    This helped so much. I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out why I kept getting the “Bus Error” error.


  5. June 8, 2017 at 2:02

    You. are. AMAZING!

    Thanks for this. I know not many people are going to run into these issues but you’ve honestly saved my butt. I would never have thought this was the reason why my file was limited to 32768 bytes.

    If I ever run into you, I owe you a beer :)!


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