FW: LCD localization issues

From: Hart, Edwin F. (Edwin.Hart@jhuapl.edu)
Date: Fri Feb 12 1999 - 11:18:33 EST

I hope that this message will help to get you started. Note, that I'm doing
some guessing.

Is the LCD in a notebook computer (Mac or PC) or an external display?

What type of applications are you using and what support do they have for
character codes with Cyrillic? Are you building your own, custom
applications or relying on commercial applications. If commercial
applications, what code pages and character sets do they support? Do they
have messages in Cyrillic?

The PC had 2 display modes: character mode and graphics mode. DOS and DOS
applications used the character mode to display messages. Then they used
the graphics mode for non-character data, like graphs, pictures, etc.
Windows uses the graphics mode except in the first stages of booting.
Windows displays all characters in graphics mode using software, but it can
print them either in graphics mode or by using the fonts native to the

As I recall (i.e., this is an educated guess, but still a guess), the PC
display adapters contained a ROM with glyphs to display characters. Why?
Because displaying the characters was much faster in hardware. The ROM
typically had the glyphs for the IBM PC Code Page 437. However, later
versions of DOS (e.g., 5.0 and up, maybe 4.0) had an option to change the
code page, which presumably changed the glyphs displayed. I'm getting too
old to remember the details. : ) While based on the earliest IBM PCs
rather than contemporary PC compatibles, Peter Norton's book, _Inside the
IBM PC_, likely contains the details.

Windows renders characters under software control and does not rely on any
glyphs (bitmaps) in a ROM, even when it opens a DOS (command) window.
However, messages displayed while booting use the ROM. Some of the messages
likely come from the BIOS ROM.

Some Alternatives for a PC:

Get a display adapter that can be customized with Cyrillic glyphs and use a
Code Page with the Cyrillic characters. IBM likely has a PC code page for
Cyrillic. You should also consider the ISO/IEC 8859-5 Latin/Cyrillic code
page. You should also obtain a different BIOS to display messages in

Use Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups 3.1.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, or
Windows NT and use the Control Panel to configure Windows xx to use a
Cyrillic code page for messages and use the correct language. Windows 95,
98 and NT would likely be better choices (because of better support for
internationalization than earlier versions of Windows) but this depends on
your applications. (Retain the current display ROM and BIOS with its
messages in English, or obtain a ROM with Cyrillic Characters using an
appropriate code page and obtain a BIOS with messages in Cyrillic.)

Good luck,
Ed Hart

From: Suzanne Topping [SMTP:stopping@rochester.rr.com]
Sent: 11 February, 1999 16:59
To: Unicode List
Subject: Fw: LCD localization issues

I don't think this is a Unicode issue, but I'm hoping some I18N experts can
help with this question:

-----Original Message-----
From: Suzanne Topping <stopping@rochester.rr.com
<mailto:stopping@rochester.rr.com> >
To: i18n-prog@acoin.com <mailto:i18n-prog@acoin.com> <i18n-prog@acoin.com
<mailto:i18n-prog@acoin.com> >; nelocsig@egroups.com
<nelocsig@egroups.com <mailto:nelocsig@egroups.com> >
Date: Thursday, February 11, 1999 4:43 PM
Subject: LCD localization issues

>I'm looking for information on localizing monotone LCD screens. The project
>is in Russian, and the engineers don't seem to be clear about how to get
>Cyrillic characters displayed.
>In talking to some of my contacts who've worked on devices with similar
>displays, it sounds as if the font (or at least the required characters)
>need to be stored in the device in some way (in ROM for example.)
>Is there a standard method for accomplishing this? Are there alternate
>methods, based on the hardware involved? Can a generic answer be provided,
>without further details? (I realize that I'm providing no information about
>the components in the device, since I have none.)
>Any help would be greatly appreciated.
>Suzanne Topping
>Localization Unlimited
>(Localization Process Improvement, Consulting, and Training)
>28 Ericsson Street
>Rochester, New York, 14610-1705
>Phone: 716-473-0791
>Fax: 716-231-2013
>Email: stopping@rochester.rr.com <mailto:stopping@rochester.rr.com>

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