[Vm-dev] accents in unix using non-english languages

Bert Freudenberg bert at freudenbergs.de
Fri Sep 28 18:11:45 UTC 2007

On Sep 28, 2007, at 19:36 , José L. Redrejo Rodríguez wrote:

> Hi
> I've been trying to use accents and non-english characters (as the
> spanish ñ) with the vm, and up to now the behaviour is totally erratic
> and with some regretions. Maybe the developing is only be made in
> english and it's not being tested in other languages, maybe the
> documentation is not clear enough, or maybe I'm just useless...
> I brief:
> - Using vm 3.9-9 and below up to 3.7,  the accents and other  
> characters
> worked when setting the environment variable LC_ALL to 'es_ES' (using
> UTF-8 it didn't work). But with this image drag & drop of external  
> files
> with accents in their names, or using the file list to open them  
> didn't
> work (tested only with gif & jpeg files)
> - Using vm 3.9-12 I can open files with accents in their names  
> using the
> file list, but drag & drop don't work.

File name encoding in DnD might not yet work, this is pretty new code.

> And now the keyboard doesn't work
> with accents or other non-english characters. After loading Bert
> Changeset
> (http://lists.squeakfoundation.org/pipermail/vm-dev/2007-March/ 
> 001046.html) I can write ñ and accents, but they are printed before  
> the vowel instead of over the vowel. I. e: 'o instead of ó.

Strange - I have never seen this.

> I've wasted a lot of time playing with the  -encoding, -pathenc and
> -textenc options without any success.
> So my questions are:
> - is this totally broken ?

Given an arbitrary VM/image combo, yes.

> - is anybody else aware of this behaviour?

Yes. We intend to fix it for the OLPC version (https://dev.laptop.org/ 
ticket/3343), but have not yet gotten around to.

> - haven't I been able to find the right documentation to make it work
> and it should work fine?

I believe the VM side should actually be fine - what is lacking is a  
way to ensure that VM and image agree on a common encoding. There  
were some proposals in the last couple of years but none got adopted.  
So it's the user who must ensure it works, and this indeed is  

Perhaps a simple step to clean up the mess is adding three new system  
attributes to allow the image to know the current VM encoding for  
keyboard, clipboard, and file names. Then fix the image to set  
converters using these attributes, instead of second-guessing from  
the platform string as it is done now.

- Bert -

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