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UTF-8 on a shell

Dear Lazyweb, can you please explain how to properly credit a frenchman in a changelog without mangling his name? I do not consider it acceptable to use a different editor, make sure that my terminal was started with the proper environment variables set (run-time configuration does not seem to do it) before I can correctly enter non-english characters in a text mode editor.

I guess I need to make the UTF-8 transition on the desktop. Are there any docs about how to do this?

It is just incredibly frustrating to spend an hour on IRC just to create a changelog entry for a patch that took a minute to make and five minutes to test.


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Ken Bloom on :

In short, make your default locale be a UTF-8 locale by running dpkg-reconfigure locales. Then on a virtual console, run unicode-start. Make sure you are using a unicode capable terminal emulator under X (for example, I run urxvt, but uxterm is also available and I imagine gnome-terminal and konsole also support UTF-8)

If you run vim, put the following in .vimrc set encoding=utf-8 and then vim will work for all left-to-right scripts. AFAIK, vim doesn't support bidirectional text yet -- you can pick either left-to-right (default) or right-to-left (with set rightleft).

I don't know anything about emacs. There's also a configuration setting in (e)links that needs to be set tor things to draw correctly in UTF-8, but exactly where it is depends on which branch of that (e)links universe you're using.

dottedmag on :

Just a quick note: I've converted three machines from ruRU.KOI8-R to ruRU.UTF-8 some time ago, and it boiled down to the one pass of 'convmv' (nice tool), which converted all names on filesystem, and changing default locales to ru_RU.UTF-8 (/etc/environment). Most of the data nowadays turned to be self-descriptive, and the rest (mostly plain text) is easily handled by the text editor of your choice.

Azundris on :

World of Pain, zugieboy.

I'm in the midst of pummeling my system into being ivritly correct, which requires a happy coexistence of (at least) two keyboard layouts, two non-intersecting scripts, left-to-right and right-to-left (IOW, bidi), in GTK/GNOME, KDE, xemacs, and shell. World of Pain.

Where shell in my case is a shorthand for gnome-terminal + screen + zsh.

So here's the non-intuitive bit: gnome-terminal has no command-line option (like xterm) nor GUI switch (like mlterm) for UTF-8, instead you echo -e '\e%G' I have that in my ~/.zshrc nowadays.

Other than that, my xim is now uim rather than scim, on top of m17n, as that actually seems to work for Hebrew, even in xemacs (more xemacs testing required). I now have Ivrit via uim/m17n in firefox, GTK/GNOME, and KDE/Qt. Ivrit will be displayed correctly in the shell, but entering it is still a bit hit and miss when not using mined. mined of course has broken menus if using in a gnome-terminal + screen combo -- but g/t plus screen seems hit and miss anyway, konsole seems to work better with screen. easytag, which I'm the first to agree has one confusing GUI, can do charset conversions of tags (ID2 at least), meaning, I get to convert tags in any of the three or four encodings for hebrew to UTF-8. audacious can also do some charset guessing, but as I tend to use amarok, that's sadly irrelevant.

Thank you for this excuse to vent, and welcome in hell.

Azundris on :

OK, I can beat that retardedness. Hebrew in xchat2: So, you see it in the input box. If you have notify enabled, you see it correctly in the note-boxes too, so you have a feeling it goes through the server OK. But in the actual text-field, all you see is box-glyphs, or crap.

Solution: OpenSUSE (guru) RPMs compiled with --use-xft. Replace USEXFT with USEPANGO in config.h, there, fixed. (Presumably, the better way is to drop the --use-xft from the xchat.spec). Now recompile and install (or rebuild the package and reinstall that), and you're good to go.

Igor Stirbu on :

You also might want to use an UTF-8 X terminal also for which I recommend urxvt (rxvt-unicode). Besides this, a good font can help you see things better. You might want to install DejaVu fonts (ttf-dejavu) and configure you apps to use it:

.Xresources URxvt*font: xft:DejaVu Sans Mono-11

.gvimrc set guifont=DejaVuSansMono:h10:cANSI

nirob on :

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