Re: PDUTR #27: Unicode 3.1

From: David Starner (
Date: Mon Jan 22 2001 - 13:13:36 EST

On Mon, Jan 22, 2001 at 05:35:24PM +0100, Mike Lischke wrote:
> Hi David,
> > If by UTF-32 characters, you mean astral or non-BMP
> > characters, recent
> > (alpha) versions of xterm can display them.
> So this is an application specific feature, not from the operating system?

Yes. But xterm being a terminal emulator enables other programs to build
their Unicode support on top of that, like mined has. Any text based Unix
program can now use suppchars in their output, and they will be correctly
displayed if running on an xterm (assuming, of course, the fonts exist,
which is only true in a minimal sense.)

> Does this mean they have implemented a text rendering engine (and be it a
> very simple one with mono spaced fonts)?

Xterm _always_ has, since it's creation in the early 70s, at least in that
sense. Released versions have supported Unicode since the X 4.0 relase - all
the latest patches do is make xterm look up and display the suppchars from the
appropriate font.

Xterm will do combining characters, including ones that aren't in the font and
doublewidth characters, so it's not an completely trivial rendering engine.

David Starner -
Recovering from a hard drive "crash" - website down

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