Breaking barriers

James Kass jameskass at
Sat Oct 23 16:44:13 CDT 2021

On 2021-10-22 9:04 PM, David Starner via Unicode wrote:
> Project Gutenberg had a Swedish bible translation
> in an unknown encoding (a variant of the DOS encoding that doesn't
> seem to have corresponded to anything documented); getting it to
> display correctly was basically the same challenge as translating it
> to Unicode, which was eventually done by figuring out what the unknown
> codepoints (obviously quotes) must have been.

Editors for DOS fonts enabled users to create all manner of alternate 
"encodings" for anything which could fit into the grid. Newly 
created/modified fonts could be saved under different file names.  A DOS 
command then enabled users to swap the font-in-use.

Here's an example of such an editor written by Adam Twardoch in 1994:

The Swedish text data which didn't match up with any known code page 
that David Starner encountered must have originally been displayed with 
such a modified font.  There's probably similar legacy data still out 
there which will be challenging to anyone trying to preserve it by 
converting it to Unicode.

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