Re: Unicode status

Aaron Ucko (
30 Nov 1996 11:15:44 -0600

[linux-console and linux-ggi added to Cc: list]

Michael Bruck <> writes:

> 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
> applications.

No, it's very easy; if your standard input is a VC, just
#include <sys/kd.h>
and call
your program will then receive input in the form of UTF-8 encoded
Unicode characters. This doesn't win you anything with the default
keymap, though, and yields incorrect input when your keymap is for a
character set other than ISO 8859-1.

> 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:

Although this can certainly be done, it is by no means clear that it
should be; true text modes are, and will always be, faster than
comparable graphics modes. Linux already allows 512-character fonts;
while 512 is certainly less than 65536, it is plenty for many people.
Nevertheless, it shouldn't be too hard to get GGI to support it if
people are interested and don't mind the relatively slow performance.

As for fonts, somebody has produced a free font with a lot of Unicode
characters; I don't remember where it is, though.

-- Aaron Ucko