Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have variously depended on metamail and munpack in the past, but both of these are suffering from bit rot. metamail has been removed from Debian, and mpack looks like it's about to be removed.

I have a package of mine which wants to depend on a base64 decoder. I can include my own Perl one-liner, of course, but I'm getting the feeling there must already be a package which is (1) resasonably standard (including, but not limited to, being available as a package for major distributions) and (2) not part of a larger package with a different purpose, such as Emacs or Subversion. I suppose if there's something in Coreutils that would be fine, though... Am I missing something obvious?

There are stand-alone tools like John Walker's base64 which fail on (1) and tools like uudeview which turn out to do all kinds of nice things, but not the simple straightforward task of encoding and decoding a piece of base64 data. So far, my best bet looks like recode although I would prefer to use something else (iconv does most of what it does, with a neater interface and less wacky defaults).

... I see now that openssl has this functionality, but it's precisely the sort of oddball dependency I'd like to avoid, although I guess it's a reasonable assumption that it will be installed on many sites for other reasons already.

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Did you try base64 from the GNU coreutils package ?

Specifically, this package includes: arch base64 [...]

Simple, effective and available on a large variety of platforms.

share|improve this answer
Whoa, thanks, indeed I was overlooking something obvious! – tripleee Mar 26 '12 at 13:45
The coreutils on my system did not actually include base64 in the package descriotion, although I suppose I can only lay part of the blame on Debian bug #535458: – tripleee Mar 26 '12 at 16:06

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.