Re: Unicode status

Michael Bruck (
Fri, 29 Nov 1996 20:15:08 +0100

At 18:38 29.11.1996 +0000, Alan Cox wrote:
>> 2nd question:
>> What is the status of Linux' Unicode implementation. Will Linux
>> be prepared for the first contact?
>We have full klingon console support just in case

As far as I remember klingon has much shorter expressions then human
languages and we could change over to klingon conversations in the
USENET reducing network traffic and solving many of our bandwidth

But as far as I remember Unicode is only present in keyboard handling code.
It's impossible (or at last not easy) to receive Unicode input in
What I was thinking of was an extension to the output handling. Especially
it should be possible to write a graphics mode console (like the TGA driver)
that is capable of displaying all characters. There are three + n problems
to be
solved to implement this:
1. How do the characters get into the application and onto the screen?
2. What kind of fonts should be used?
3. Does such a console requires high-resolution graphics / does this
require a driver for each
graphics card ?

Not discussed here. :)

a) The fonts could be designed for 16x8 like in VGA-Adapters. But this
makes it
impossible to display complex characters (think of Chinese).
b) You could use a TrueType font f.e. from Windows Courier with partial
i) and generate bitmaps from the characters
ii) or generate bitmaps at runtime and allow the user to scale them
to any level
(But this would be a copyright violation unless you use free fonts like
from X11 which on the other hand would have to be extended to
at least a useful subset of Unicode)
Characters generated from TrueType are only good human-readable at
larger sizes. (I've
tried Courier New => readable characters are only possible at
resolutions 1024x768 and
higher). (Think of Sun console.)
The resolution can be reduced extremely when anti-aliasing is used, but
this requires a
hi-res display (or you will get only gray scales 256/16). This also
wastes more time
for bit blitting and masking values characters against background.

These are only my unimportant thoughts about this topic.