Unicode-based FreeBSD

Marcel Moolenaar xcllnt at mac.com
Sat Aug 23 17:34:40 UTC 2008

On Aug 23, 2008, at 2:56 AM, Alexander Churanov wrote:

> Hi folks!
> I'm posting to this list, because I didn't find anything more  
> appropriate
> and the only answer I've received on "freebsd-i18n at freebsd.org" was a
> suggestion to post to "freebsd-current".
> I am interested in FreeBSD internationalization and unicode support. I
> already spent some time examining the source of syscons. I think that
> syscons is the main problem in bringing full UTF-8 support to  
> FreeBSD out of
> box. It seems that I am ready with the solution. That's why I am  
> writing to
> this list.

I've been working on this for a bit. The approach I took was
to 1) kick syscons out, 2) write a VGA driver that works in
graphics mode, 3) create a terminal driver that uses UNICODE
internally (that is, it uses UTF-32) and that can support
different terminal emulations, 4) start a VT100/VT102 terminal
emulation driver.

Going UNICODE is great, but you need to be able to display
the characters. For that, the most generic approach is to
have your own fonts and have the hardware be in graphics mode

At this point, I need to hook it up to the keyboard API, so
that one can type. It's already booting, so the basics are
working. Not that VT100 emulation is "there" or complete...

> 0) Is moving to UTF-8 from 8-bit codepages desired for FreeBSD?

Yes, I think it is. I don't think you can call youself a
serious OS if you don't have adequate i18n.

> 1) Is unicode support in character-mode (I mean plain tty, not Xorg)  
> FreeBSD
> human interface alreay implemented?


> 2) Is somebody working on that?

I'm not currenrtly working actively on it...

> 3) What is the correct branch to check out source code? From what
> repository?

I have my code in Perforce, on the tty.
See also:

> 4) What is the process of submitting changes?

That depends. In this case, since we're talking about
significant work, the ebest aproach would be to develop
on a Perforce branch until the code is ready for a
bigger audience...


Marcel Moolenaar
xcllnt at mac.com

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