That's exactly it: I needed top retrieve some CNs from an Active Directory server, but one of them was encoded in Base64, since it contained an accented character. To decode it inline I quickly wrote this:

perl -MEncode -MMIME::Base64 -lpe 'Encode::from_to($_=decode_base64($_),"utf8","iso-8859-1")'

Just type in the string and press enter, it will return the decoded string in ISO-8859-1 format.

One could go further and write something just a bit more complicated:

perl -MEncode -MMIME::Base64 -lpe 'if (/::/) { ($attr,$_)=split ; Encode::from_to($_=decode_base64($_),"utf8","iso-8859-1") ; $_="$attr: $_" }'

that should work in the trivial cases (non-multiline-split attribute values). I used it this way:

ldapsearch -x -h -p 3268 -b dc=ourdomain,dc=com -D a_dn_al +lowed_to_search_and -w its_password '(manager=the_dn_of_our_boss)' cn + | perl -MEncode -MMIME::Base64 -lpe 'if (/::/) { ($attr,$_)=split ; +Encode::from_to($_=decode_base64($_),"utf8","iso-8859-1") ; $_="$attr +: $_" }'


In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.