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We are processing files that our clients generated on their local Windows machines which use the CP-1252 character set. Occasionally, while processing one of these files in our backend (running on CentOS), we get runtime errors (it's a Java backend, so RuntimeExceptions). If we remote in to the server and rename the file (using UTF-8) and re-run it, the file processes perfectly fine.

Is there any way to "add" CP-1252 to CentOS's available character sets so that this stops happening?

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Can you post the Java run-time exception that you receive? And call stack? Is the issue that there is a CP-1252 character in the file name that is being processed by a Java program? –  HeatfanJohn Aug 20 '12 at 21:40
@HeatfanJohn - I will need a few hours before I can get access to the appropriate logs to get the exact stacktrace, but yes, you nailed it. It happens when there is a CP-1252 character in the file name and the system chokes. Simply SSHing in to the server, renaming it and re-processing the file fixes it, but is a sub-optimal (manual!) solution. –  pnongrata Aug 20 '12 at 21:42
Do you have any control over the code that creates that file that is processed by your Java back-end or over the source code to the Java application that processes the file? –  HeatfanJohn Aug 20 '12 at 21:56
Only the backend but not the (client-side) file generator. But the Java backend is 100% under our control. –  pnongrata Aug 20 '12 at 22:01
How come you can't fix the Java program to read the data as bytes and then pass it through a decoder? –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Aug 21 '12 at 5:20
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1 Answer

Check out this bug report from Oracle on the behavior of Java bug_id=4733494 related to the "default locale". According to this bug report (actually Sun/Oracle says that this behavior is really not a bug but just how Java was designed), from Sun/Oracle:

In versions of the JDK prior to 1.4, we always forced the "C" locale to the ISO8859-1 character set. In releases 1.4 and later, we support the "C" locale which requires restriction to 7-bit ASCII.

The recommendation is to set environment variable LC_ALL to en_US.ISO8859-1 or whatever the appropriate locale for the system should be es_ES.ISO-8859-1, etc.


export LC_ALL="en_US.ISO-8859-1"

To the command file that runs your Java back-end should resolve the problem.

This is also documented in SO question: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5663709/how-to-fix-java-when-if-refused-to-open-a-file-with-special-charater-in-filename

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Thanks @HeatfanJohn (+1) - quick followup: what's this "C" locale? I've never heard of it before or seen it referenced anywhere. What purpose does it serve? Thanks again! –  pnongrata Aug 21 '12 at 1:59
@zharvey I didn't know what that was either. From this chemie.fu-berlin.de/chemnet/use/info/libc/libc_19.html#SEC324 web page it appears to be a legacy GNU C locale. –  HeatfanJohn Aug 21 '12 at 2:42
@zharvey if you run locale from a command prompt on your Linux system, what is output? –  HeatfanJohn Aug 21 '12 at 3:07
The "C" locale does no (i.e. bitwise) collation, no number or currency formatting, and primitive date and time formatting, and does not translate the native strings used in an application. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Aug 21 '12 at 5:17
Thanks @IgnacioVazquez-Abrams –  HeatfanJohn Aug 21 '12 at 13:50
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