Unicode-based FreeBSD

Oliver Fromme olli at lurza.secnetix.de
Thu Aug 28 17:18:34 UTC 2008

Alexander Churanov wrote:
 > Marcel Moolenaar wrote:
 > > Alexander Churanov wrote:
 > > > I'm just trying to be realistic and provide doable solution. I leave plans
 > > > of rewriting every bit of software to others. And I even think that latter
 > > > is not required, since syscons console is probably not heavily used now.
 > > 
 > > This is not true. FreeBSD is used in far more environments
 > > than the typical desktop environment running X11. It is
 > > therefore important to realize that you cannot claim that
 > > there's always X11 to fall back upon when it comes to i18n
 > > or that those cases are not significant or important enough
 > > to consider.
 > I do not know thestatistics, but as for me I'm either using FreeBSD as a
 > desktop, or as a server (firewall, gateway, router, database - do not
 > matter). On a desktop machine I have X and server is typically managed via
 > ssh. This leaves only installation and single-user modes for syscons
 > console. Other uses are rare for me.
 > And how do you use syscons?

I have to manage a large number of FreeBSD servers via
remote KVM (i.e. KVM-over-IP).  That means I have to use
syscons via the KVM application inside a browser window.

So, whatever, you do, please do not break syscons.  ;-)

Some personal notes:  I'm a German speaker, so my language
uses certain non-ASCII characters (Umlauts and others).
I have no problem using them with syscons; I use only 8bit
(ISO8859-1 and -15).  However, I try to avoid non-ASCII in
filenames, especially on portable media, because you never
know if every system is able to handle them correctly.
Just to name an example, there was the case where a friend
of mine brought a CD with photos to a shop in order to get
them printed.  The photo printer terminal (a PC with some
custom software) refused to do its job because it choked on
some of the file names that contained umlaut characters.

Of course I'm aware of the fact that 8bit is not sufficient
for some languages, especially Asian ones.  Therefore it is
certainly desirable to implement UTF-* support for the
console (be it syscons or something new).

Right now, a Chinese sysadmin cannot simply go to a FreeBSD
console, run mutt and read mails from his co-workers that
contain Chinese characters.  This *does* work fine with
Linux.  This is clearly an area where FreeBSD is lacking.

Best regards

Oliver Fromme, secnetix GmbH & Co. KG, Marktplatz 29, 85567 Grafing b. M.
Handelsregister: Registergericht Muenchen, HRA 74606,  Geschäftsfuehrung:
secnetix Verwaltungsgesellsch. mbH, Handelsregister: Registergericht Mün-
chen, HRB 125758,  Geschäftsführer: Maik Bachmann, Olaf Erb, Ralf Gebhart

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