"DOS fonts" (was RE: Breaking barriers)

Peter Constable pgcon6 at msn.com
Mon Oct 25 12:02:39 CDT 2021

> A DOS command then enabled users to swap the font-in-use.

As I recall, DOS had no such command. Rather, one needed a utility that would load the font data into specific memory. 

I dealt with that while working on my MA in linguistics: I had a Hercules graphics card (pre-VGA, but better than EGA) and a utility specific to the Hercules to load font data into memory on the Hercules card. And Word for DOS had a graphics mode that would display using whatever font was provided by the Hercules card. So, I could edit word documents with "special" characters.


-----Original Message-----
From: Unicode <unicode-bounces at corp.unicode.org> On Behalf Of James Kass via Unicode
Sent: October 23, 2021 2:44 PM
To: unicode at corp.unicode.org
Subject: Re: Breaking barriers

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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