Linux – How to display Unicode in a Linux virtual terminal


Reading any data in Unicode does not display correctly in the Linux terminal (meaning the virtual terminal that opens without an X windows).

I read in a discussion here that installing programs such as JFBTERM, and it does work, so I was wondering if there isn't any way to configure (consolefonts?) the terminal to properly handle unicode without any extra software.

On Windows terminals (gnome-terminal, xterm, etc) it looks like this:


On virtual terminal it looks like this:


On virtual terminal with JFBTERM it looks like this:


Here is a screenshot of the output of locale:


Here is the output of showconsolefont:


Does anyone know if it is possible to accomplish the same just with the default virtual terminal?

Best Answer

The console font can load fonts to up to 512 (I think, or something like that) different glyphs; usually only 256 glyphs however.

To display Latin, Cyrrilic, or other languages that use less than 200 non complex symbols is no problem.

However, for complex scripts, or scripts needing a lot of different symbols (like japanese) you have no other possibility than using an extra layout to handle it.

Note that if the limit of 512 should be enough for ASCII and both Kana sets, there is the problem of the width.

CJK and Kana fit a square, they are twice the width of Latin letters. That is not something that the console can handle out of the box.

You could resort to old and ugly “Halfwidth Katakana” (and maybe even find an old font of such a thing), or set your console to 40 columns width and have latin letters be as wide as Kana.

I don't know of any such console font with Kana; you should draw your own (there are tools to do so, and you can just copy the dots of bitmap japanese font.

Also, you could use iconv to transliterate kana into ASCII.