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Character Sets in Linux or: Why do I See Those Weird Characters?

Nov 12, 2009, 17:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Akkana Peck)

"In the beginning: ASCII

"In the beginning there was ASCII: a simple set of 127 characters (7 bits). You can see the ASCII table by typing man ascii.

"ASCII was fine for English and most programming languages. But pretty soon those pesky Spanish, French and German speakers started complaining: Écoutez! ¡Oye! Paß auf!

"127 characters wasn't enough for all the characters those languages needed. So OS vendors started using that 8th bit. That solved the problem ... for about a month, until Greeks, Russians, Chinese and the rest started demanding ways to type their languages."

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