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Is there a simple utility like printf that'll give me a "binary representation", i.e. a string like "01010010", from an input string? It would need to support multi-byte encodings.

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i was going to say od, but it doesnt output binary. googling about using od for binary output, found this, might be helpful: blog.2of1.org/2011/03/24/binary-output-using-od-cut-and-perl –  marcelog Jul 30 '11 at 0:35

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

xxd -b

(source)

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Nice, thank you! My Google didn't find it… :o) –  deceze Jul 30 '11 at 0:50

You can also do this (and many other things) using figlet with the binary font.

$ echo foo | figlet -f binary
01100110 01101111 01101111 
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@bahamat: I love the style of figlets big font output (+1 for that :) , but I there is not 'binary' format for version 2.2.2.. –  Peter.O Jul 30 '11 at 19:17
    
I'm using 2.2.4, and I have the binary font. You have to download it from figlet.org (I already posted the link). –  bahamat Jul 30 '11 at 19:52
    
I downloaded binary.flf, and it works to just add a new .flf file to /usr/share/figlet... Now that I've actually tried it, I'll mention that unless you manually modify binary.flf, it does not convert spaces to binary... –  Peter.O Jul 31 '11 at 1:57

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