The easiest way of describing the Linux Console Tools features is
to compare them with the kbd package, from which it is
derived. This will be most useful to people used to kbd.
Console Tools features that kbd 0.99 does not
- Better unicode support
- A general-purpose tutorial to these tools and
their new features, as well as Unicode-related issues on the Linux
- Improved unicode_start and unicode_stop
- UCS2 Application-Charset Mappings (ACMs, formerly
called "screen maps") (supported by the kernel, but not by
kbd), allowing to tell the kernel about the charset used by
your console applications independently of any font used.
The obsolete 8-bit ACMs were font-encoding dependant, which ended in
many people using non-portable personal charsets without even knowing
they were doing so.
- All fonts not in CP format are sent in PSF format; ultimately
all of them should have a builtin Screen-Font Map (SFMs,
formerly called "unimaps").
- SFM Fallback tables, to draw a line, in current SFMs,
between the "canonical" (UCS2-defined) chars for a glyph,
and other chars which can be drawn using other chars' glyphs as a
fallback when their own char is not available. Some examples of
fallback tables automatically generated from the authoritative Unicode
Data list are also provided.
- Shared libraries for some code which is duplicated in the
kbd tree, as well as for some general-purpose functions.
- Most tools accept a filename argument of - to refer to
stdin or stdout.
- Command-line support to setup and switch to/from the G0/G1
charset slots; standard tools only allowed to setup and use the G0
- Identifies compressed files by magic number instead of by
filename extension; also allows to use compress and
lzop in addition to gzip and bzip2.
- Several more manpages.
- An extensive ChangeLog file for hackers, as well as a
NEWS file, more useful for end-users.
- etc ... - tell me which ones I forgot - this list is based on the
NEWS file, which is itself based on the ChangeLog
file, which in turn I try to fill whenever I make a change to
the code; there are some chances I missed some things ;)
Features that first appeared in the Linux Console Tools, and later
- kbd 0.99
- GNU gettext message internationalization (i18n).
- kbd 0.97
- Support for the KDFONTOP ioctl from latest 2.1 kernels.
- You can save a 512-chars font. Fonts can also be saved in PSF
format, with or without a builtin SFM (default is, of course, PSF
- kbd 0.96
- An --ascii option to showkey(1), quite similar
to the --keymap option in console-tools.
Features that were ported to kbd, but not integrated
- Autoconf/automake support, as a shell script
making some changes to the source-package layout, and applying the patch.