Re: Terminal Graphics Draft 2

From: Frank da Cruz (
Date: Fri Oct 09 1998 - 13:38:46 EDT

> If the Feminine, and Masculine, Ordinal Indicators (U+00AA, and U+00BA,
> respectively) were written in the same fixed-pitch font as the surrounding
> text, they also would occupy one cell, each, won't they?
Yes, but they would be too small. The SNI glyphs are full-size base
characters, but the ordinal indicator glyphs are superscripts.

> As Frank had written in both of his own drafts:
> > arriving at a sufficient set of character-cell terminal graphics for
> > Unicode is complicated by the well-known problems that affect other
> > preexisting character sets to varying degrees:
> > 1. Lack of official names for the characters of some of the sets.
> > 2. Lack of definitive, high-quality pictures of the glyphs in some cases.
> > 3. Lack of descriptions of the purpose and intended use of the glyphs.
> I think, those are good reasons not to take the glyphs in the Siemens
> Nixdorf 97801-5xx Benutzerhandbuch too seriously -- good reasons to unify
> these characters with the above-mentioned U+00AA and U+00BA. The only
> reason, IMHO, not to unify them would be existence of a character set
> containing different glyphs both for the proposed characters and the
> existing ones -- as Rick has already noted.
I tend to agree. The "strange" SNI glyphs are not a high priority, to me
personally at least. I have, however, posted a message to the Sinix newsgroup
(of SNI customers) to see if any strong opinions come to the surface. All I
can say from my own experience is that there was heavy demand for accurate
SNI terminal emulation for Windows 95/98/NT, and we met that demand as best
we could within the limitations of the code pages and fonts available to us.
For those of you not familiar with SNI 97801, it probably has the most
advanced ISO 2022 implementation and repertoire of character sets of any
terminal ever built -- at least in the West (it lacks Hebrew, Arabic, and
CJK, but includes ISO 8859-1,2,3,4,5,7,9, various ISO 646 versions, plus
a selection of "strange" private sets, and a wide variety of input methods).

To answer Otto's point with a question: what is a character set? I can see
both a superscript feminine ordinal and a "big" feminine ordinal on the same
screen simply by sending ISO 2022 escape sequences to switch "character sets".
So in a sense, all character sets that can be designated and invoked by ISO
2022 escape sequences form one big character set :-) See, for example:

Go down to Shot 3. This screen was produced using ISO 2022 escape sequences
from the host to a VT320 terminal emulator on Windows 95, with Lucida Console
as the (Unicode) font. The same screen could be produced by sending the exact
same data stream to the 97801. (This screen does not show any of the SNI
"strange" glyphs, but I hope it illustrates the point.)

Again, I have no great investment in these characters, and so far our SNI
users have not complained about their absence, but before striking them I
hope to hear some additional testimony from them.

- Frank

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