Re: 70s and 80s home computer characters

From: Markus Kuhn (
Date: Fri Mar 24 2000 - 13:25:36 EST

Doug Ewell wrote on 2000-03-24 14:47 UTC:
> You can't convert completely between ATASCII and Unicode, because many
> of the line-drawing and "geometric shapes" characters are not in Unicode.
> I was thinking about proposing them, but since many of the characters are
> the same as in Frank da Cruz's "terminal graphics" proposal, which was
> apparently rejected despite its greater "real-world" usefulness, I felt
> there was little hope.

Frank da Cruz's "terminal graphics" proposal was never rejected. It is
just sleeping at the moment and those involved have mostly been waiting
for Unicode 3.0 to be published before reviving and completing it.

I very much would like to see an "Archaic Computing Hardware
Compatibility" area somewhere in Plane 1. To me, the graphics symbols of
the Atari 400/800/ST, Sinclair ZX81/Spectrum, Commodore PET, TRS-80,
Amstrad CPC, Videotext, etc. are at least as useful as cuneiform and
hieroglyphics. There are multiple emulators for these once highly
popular 8-bit architectures available for Linux and Windows, and it
would be neat if these could finally be used via UTF-8/VT100 terminal
emulators remotely and if I could cut&paste screenshots of my lovely old
Commodore C64 text mode games into e-mail.

Sure, it is not an urgent issue, but it is certainly also not less
useful than many of the other specialist and enthusiast characters that
have already been accepted into plane 1.


Markus G. Kuhn, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK
Email: mkuhn at,  WWW: <>

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