Filename containing French characters ?

Robert Bonomi bonomi at
Mon May 23 13:09:00 UTC 2011

> Date: Mon, 23 May 2011 06:54:44 +0200
> From: Frank Bonnet <f.bonnet at>
> To: freebsd-questions at
> Subject: Re: Filename containing French characters ?
> Le 22/05/2011 17:31, Mike Jeays a ecrit :
> > On Sun, 22 May 2011 17:00:48 +0200 Frank Bonnet<f.bonnet at>  
> > wrote:
> >
> >> Hello
> >>
> >> I'm going mad trying to Open a file which the filename contains one or 
> >> more French characters ( file not found ) Is there some magical 
> >> receipe to do so ? Or do I have to forget trying ???
> >>
> >> Thanks
> >
> > If the first few characters is not accented, type 'mv "', then the 
> > first few characters,  in a command line, and press 'tab' so the 
> > auto-completion works. Don't forget the closing quote. Then rename it 
> > to something else.
> Access right are OK ( 644 ) the completion does not work, the operating 
> system says file not found when I try to open it with any program.
> when I type the "ls -l" command the file is displayed with a "?" in place 
> of the French (accentuated ) character
> I tried UTF8 or iso8859-1 as MM-CHARSET and fr_FR.ISO8859-1 as LANG 
> global variables but it still don-t work

The *easy* work-arouond -- it does -not- solve the real problem, but does
let you work with the file -- is to rename the file.

*Assuming* you are seeing the rest of the filename, _after_ the '?' character,
then issue an 'mv' command, using the source file name _exactly_ as shown
(i.e., _with_ the '?' in place of the unprintable character), and using a
destination file name that is _without_ any accented characters in it.

If that mv fails, try repeating it, but using an '*' instead of the '?'.

Oh, there is one more situation that can cause the kind of problem you are
seeing.  Does the 'ls -l' show it as an _actual_ file, or a 'symlink' (to
a file that does not exist)?  A 'dangling symlink' can give all sorts of
"strange" errors.

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