catopen - Linux


catopen is a utility used to open and read a message catalog, which is a database of translated messages used for localization in programs. Message catalogs are often stored in .mo files and are associated with a specific locale (language and region).


catopen <message catalog file>




1. Viewing a Simple Message Catalog:

$ catopen /usr/share/locale/en/LC_MESSAGES/

2. Reading Messages Using a Locale:

$ LC_ALL=C catopen /usr/share/locale/fr/LC_MESSAGES/

3. Translating a Message:

$ msgfmt --statistics myapp.po

Common Issues

1. Unable to Open Message Catalog:

  • Ensure the message catalog file exists and has the correct permissions.
  • Verify that the locale specified in LC_ALL or LC_MESSAGES is correct.

2. Missing Translation:

  • Check if the message is properly defined in the .po file.
  • Ensure the msgid and msgstr fields are correctly filled in.


catopen can be integrated with other tools for localization, such as:

  • msgfmt: Converts .po files to binary .mo message catalogs.
  • locale: Sets the system locale to specify the desired language and region.

Related Commands

  • gettext: Extracts translatable strings from source code.
  • msgfmt: Compiles .po files into .mo message catalogs.
  • localectl: Configures system locale settings.