Syscons with xterm emulation: one step closer to UTF-8 support?

Ed Schouten ed at
Sat Dec 6 07:59:09 PST 2008

Hello all,

I may have mentioned this to some people some time ago, but I thought it
would be nice to start a thread about this here on -hackers:

A couple of weeks ago I started working on a library (libteken) that
implements a subset of features (escape sequences) of xterm, our trusty
X11 terminal application. I've done most hacking/testing in userspace,
but this week I experimented with removing the terminal emulation from
syscons and replaced it by the library. The result:

- We can finally SSH to other operating systems, network switches, etc.
  without messing up our terminals. Almost any operating system out
  there has termcap entries for `xterm', which means stuff should Just
  Work (tm).

- My library only accepts one character set of input: UTF-8. Right now
  it just directly forwards the character codes to Syscons, hoping
  Syscons has a character map that is capable of displaying them (which
  doesn't work).

There are still many small issues I have to fix in the terminal
emulation library, but also in the Syscons <-> libteken code. I won't
commit it on short notice, obviously. If people want to test it, the
code is in the MPSAFE TTY branch in Perforce. Diffs are available at:

My question is if there are people out there who could help me
implementing UTF-8 font rendering. I wouldn't have a clue where to
start (yet).

 Ed Schouten <ed at>
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