[Israel.pm] utf-8 and Hebrew

Oded Arbel oded-linux at typo.co.il
Fri Feb 3 02:32:34 PST 2006

On Thursday 02 February 2006 14:08, Peter Gordon wrote:
> I have text in a string which is utf-8 and contains some Hebrew
> characters.
> When I print the text in an xterm or xemacs, I can see the text, but it
> displays backwards. When I send it to a web browser it appears
> correctly. The only thing that concerns me is the appearance in the
> browser, so I don't mind how it appears in the xterm or xemacs.

Note that for Hebrew text to display correctly (assuming you're not using the 
outdated and obsolete "visual ordering" method), you need to have your 
program (xterm, XEmacs or browser) implement the BiDi algorithm as defined in 
the Unicode standard. While most web browsers to day (with the notable 
exception of some console based browsers) implement this method, not so many 
other software do - as a rule of thumb, if the application is based on some 
very commonly used _modern_ graphical toolkit, such as gtk+ or qt, then it 
will support displaying Hebrew correctly. Otherwise the developers have to 
implement it internally, and being that BiDi is a complicated algorithm and 
its only used by a small subset of computer users, most likely nobody 
bothered with it. 

If you're looking for a graphical terminal that is "BiDi aware" , I suggest 
you take a look at konsole, though using it with BiDi text tends to make a 
mess of applications that require precise screen control, such as mc and 

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