I am using meld to visualise a diff between two files. meld shows the diff output in... something like Japanese or Chinese?

Any idea what could happen? A locale issue? What is strange is that when using diff or colordiff in terminal, they work perfectly!


Meld shows unreadable output

  • I've just gotten this as well, with a git meld. Oddly, only one of the LOCAL/BASE/REMOTE files is affected.
    – Ziv
    Dec 12 '16 at 8:24
  • Not familiar with meld but I'd suggest trying to run it as LC_ALL=C meld from command-line and see if issue persists. Jan 26 '17 at 0:03
  • My case was actually the Windows-1252 encoding and solved like here -> stackoverflow.com/questions/38919384/…
    – eri0o
    May 13 '19 at 15:21

Same problem here: File encoding is not correctly detected.

In my case this is due to meld's "detect-encodings" settings.

Check with:

$ gsettings get org.gnome.meld detect-encodings

Only utf8 is detected.

To workaround this issue add 'latin1' or whatever encoding your file has:

$ gsettings set org.gnome.meld detect-encodings "['utf8','latin1']"

Short extension to the last answer:

I had to add quotes to the [] part:

gsettings set org.gnome.meld detect-encodings "['utf8','latin1']"

executing it in a terminal in Ubuntu 16.04

  • 3
    Better to suggest an edit to the post instead of making an answer for a small correction :)
    – Zanna
    Feb 25 '17 at 22:44
  • 1
    he cant comment, too little points right? :( Mar 28 '18 at 19:50

I am pretty sure this is a encoding issue. Your terminal is probably in UTF-8 and the file is ISO. This is a new problem as early as 16.04, I think it may happen in 15.04 as well but I can confirm that it doesn't in 12.04.

Try checking your terminal where you are running meld by typing "locale". and you should get something like this:

$ locale

Then type " file " for each of your files and make sure they match your terminal.

On a side note I have been having a number of encoding issues between UTF-8 and ISO that really should never happen in 16.04.

What worked for me was running iconv on each file:

iconv -f ISO-8859-15 -t UTF-8 file_1.txt >file_1.tmp;
iconv -f ISO-8859-15 -t UTF-8 file_2.txt >file2.tmp;
mv file_1.tmp file_1.txt;
mv file_2.tmp file_2.txt;
meld file_1 file_2
  • 1
    Thanks for your help! The file command is not very informative. (just says ASCII). I tried to used fromdos to convert but still get the same output... SHould I try another command? Thanks!
    – Matifou
    Jan 25 '17 at 22:39
  • I used iconv on each file to convert from ISO to utf-8 and everything magically worked. Odd because there are no chars which should make a difference between the two.
    – badner
    Jan 25 '17 at 22:58
  • I will add the command to my answer
    – badner
    Jan 25 '17 at 22:59

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