smbclient: Special Characters and UTF-8

I have a PHP web application that communicates to Windows Shares via the smbclient binary. My problem was that some characters (particularly accented characters such as é ) were not being shown on the PHP page and were even causing lines of output to be omitted. After ensuring the PHP page was outputting UTF8 I moved on to checking the output at the command-line and also comparing various shell_exec commands. This narrowed the problem to the smbclient command rather than the shell_exec command.

So I started to investigate the charset settings in Samba. Running the following command showed me the default charset settings for Samba:

This was giving me my unwanted output – see the output below particularly the ‘h  h  jonny’ line (and compare this to the output in the next image) which should actually be 3 lines but each héllo is cut off at the é :


There is much more details on the charsets used in Samba/Windows here but I found that editing the smb.conf fileand manually setting the display charset to UTFB solved my problem. This despite my linux locale being en_US.UTF-8 :

Selection_179and the web version:





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