File:  [NetBSD Developer Wiki] / wikisrc / unicode.mdwn
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Sun Feb 5 07:14:36 2012 UTC (2 years, 2 months ago) by schmonz
Branches: MAIN
CVS tags: HEAD

How to use wide-range characters a.k.a. UTF-8 in NetBSD. 

[![Just to show off. That's how UTF-8 encoded spam will look like ;-)][3]][4]

   [3]: /images/200px-Unicoded-spam.png
   [4]: /images/Unicoded-spam.png (Just to show off. That's how UTF-8 encoded spam will look like ;-))


   [5]: /images/magnify-clip.png
   [6]: /images/Unicoded-spam.png (Enlarge)

Just to show off. That's how UTF-8 encoded spam will look like ;-)


[[!toc levels=3]]

#  Introduction 

This is all about Unicode on NetBSD. 

#  Note on wscons 

wscons doesn't support UTF-8, you'll need **X11** and a proper **X terminal emulator** for this to be of any use, or you get character mash for lunch! Only the [ASCII][40] part of Unicode, namely the **first 128 characters, will work** in your wscons console, as they overlap in both UTF-8 and ISO-8859 character sets: 
       [40]: (


#  Note on uwscons 

Unofficial patches for 3.0 release can be found here: [][41]

   [41]: (

#  pkgsrc 

  * To make packages that support it use the ncurses library with wide-characters, add to /etc/mk.conf 
      PKG_DEFAULT_OPTIONS+= ncursesw

#  Soup up a shell 

##  ksh 

  * Works. 
      chsh -s /bin/ksh

##  mksh 

  * This one is an OpenBSD based Korn shell, works pretty well compared to the pdksh. 
       cd /usr/pkgsrc/shells/mksh
       make install clean
       chsh -s /usr/pkg/bin/mksh

##  zsh 

  * Note: The stable version 4.2.x won't work. UTF-8 in the Z shell is enabled by default since 4.3.2. 
       cd /usr/pkgsrc/shells/zsh-current
       make install clean
       chsh -s /usr/pkg/bin/zsh

##  tcsh 

  * Works out of the box. 
       cd /usr/pkgsrc/shells/tcsh
       make install clean
       chsh -s /usr/pkg/bin/tcsh

##  bash 

  * Works out of the box. 
       cd /usr/pkgsrc/shells/bash
       make install clean
       chsh -s /usr/pkg/bin/bash

##  Shell environment 

  * Set the variables LANG and LC_CTYPE in your shell configuration file 
       export LANG="en_US.UTF-8"
       export LC_CTYPE="en_US.UTF-8"
       export LC_ALL=""

or if you have a C-style shell 
       setenv LANG "en_US.UTF-8"
       setenv LC_CTYPE "en_US.UTF-8"
       setenv LC_ALL ""

The other locale variables should be left untouched, which is "C" by default, to not confuse programs. Other locales than en_US probably won't work too well, since the fonts aren't in the base system yet, but you can install them and try your luck, of course. 

The result should look like 
       % locale

#  X Terminal emulators 

##  xterm 

  * Versions 239 and over work well with default "fixed" font 
  * Also works with ttf DejaVu Mono font 
  * Appears to have trouble with some other fonts such as Bitstream Vera Sans Mono despite this font being more complete than DejaVu 

##  gnome-terminal 

  * Awesome and works great with the ttf Bitstream Vera Sans Mono or DejaVu Mono. 
  * Somewhat bloated considering the dependencies. 

##  urxvt 

  * recommended 
       cd /usr/pkgsrc/x11/rxvt-unicode
       make install clean

##  uxterm 

  * Works, as the 'u' might suggest, but last time I checked it sucked. Anyone? 

##  aterm 

  * Doesn't work and probably never will. 

##  Eterm 

  * Doesn't work either. Last time I checked the author was too busy with real-life. 

#  Utilities 

##  less 

  * Set the shell environment variable LESSCHARSET to "utf-8". 

##  screen 

  * .screenrc 
       defutf8 on
       encoding UTF-8

##  lynx 

  * .lynxrc 
       character_set=UNICODE (UTF-8)

Or change "Display character set" in the options menu. 

##  irssi 
       /set recode_autodetect_utf8 yes
       /set recode_fallback iso-8859-1  (or whatever seems fit)
       /set recode_out_default_charset UTF-8          
       /set term_charset UTF-8           

##  silc-client 
       /set term_type utf-8

and restart. 

##  vi 

  * NetBSD's vi is based on nvi. It doesn't support wide-range characters as of version 1.79nb16 from 10/23/96, which is the one in current 4.99.15 and all releases thereunder. 

##  nvi 

  * pkgsrc' nvi (v1.81.5) is supposed to work with wide-range characters after some tweaks. 


##  vim 

  * .vimrc 
       set encoding=utf-8           
       set fileencoding=utf-8

##  emacs 

  * .emacs 
       ; === Set character encoding ===
       (setq locale-coding-system 'utf-8)
       (set-terminal-coding-system 'utf-8)
       (set-keyboard-coding-system 'utf-8)
       (set-selection-coding-system 'utf-8)
       (prefer-coding-system 'utf-8)

This one gives you umlauts: 
       ; === Make ä, ö, ü, ß work ===
       (set-language-environment 'german)

##  mutt 

  * mutt should work with all the above. If it doesn't, put in your .muttrc something like 
      set charset="utf-8:iso-8859-1"

If you haven't set it in PKG_DEFAULT_OPTIONS already, you may also add to mk.conf 
      PKG_OPTIONS.mutt+= ncursesw

#  Servers 

##  Apache2 

  * /usr/pkg/etc/httpd/httpd.conf 
      AddDefaultCharset UTF-8

#  Converting files 

  * If you have files containing non-ASCII ISO-8859 characters your system now will assume these are UTF-8 characters. They're not though, and the characters in these files will be misinterpreted which means that tools that use them will start breaking. Use iconv to convert these, which is part of the base system. 
       iconv -f iso8859-1 -t utf-8 file >

#  Filesystems 

  * Be careful with special characters in filenames, as they'll look weird when you try to access them from a non-unicode environment. 

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