The Linux Console Tools


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 have

  • Better unicode support
    • A general-purpose tutorial to these tools and their new features, as well as Unicode-related issues on the Linux console.
    • Improved unicode_start and unicode_stop scripts.
    • 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 slot.
  • 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 in kbd

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 with SFM).
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.

This page last modified: Thu Jul 22 00:49:46 1999
Template last modified: Mon Feb 18 00:22:53 2002