Re: 70s and 80s home computer characters

From: Frank da Cruz (
Date: Fri Mar 24 2000 - 13:43:54 EST

Markus wrote:
> 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.
Here is the actual status, from the December 1998 UTC meeting:

 1. Document L2/98-353, "Additional Control Pictures for Unicode"
    Status: rejected

 2. Document L2/98-354, "Terminal Graphics for Unicode"
    Status: deferred for additional information
    The UTC has requested more information before it makes a decision.
    Table 5.1, range of E080 to E087. The UTC has requested an official
    position from IBM and feedback from SHARE on the glyphs used in the status
    area of a 3270 display.
    Table 5.2, range of E0A0 to E0AD. The UTC has requested that
    Microsoft provide a list of the full set of glyphs used to construct
    mathematical entities (brackets, braces, sigma, etc.).

 3. Document L2/98-355, "Hex Byte Pictures for Unicode"
    Status: rejected

Did the UTC ever receive the requested feedback?

> 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.
That's a different proposal. Mine concerned terminal glyphs -- i.e. glyphs
used in terminal-host communication.

Cute graphics internal to specific computers are indeed akin to hieroglyphs,
whereas terminal glyphs are cross-platform and to this day must be implemented
or faked somehow by ALL terminal emulation software, so there should be some
standard for them -- all the arguments I made before.

- Frank

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