UNICODE(7)                 Linux Programmer's Manual                UNICODE(7)

       unicode - universal character set

       The  international  standard  ISO 10646 defines the Universal Character
       Set (UCS).  UCS contains all characters  of  all  other  character  set
       standards.   It  also  guarantees  "round-trip compatibility"; in other
       words, conversion tables can be built such that no information is  lost
       when a string is converted from any other encoding to UCS and back.

       UCS contains the characters required to represent practically all known
       languages.  This includes not only the Latin, Greek, Cyrillic,  Hebrew,
       Arabic,  Armenian, and Georgian scripts, but also Chinese, Japanese and
       Korean Han ideographs as well as scripts such  as  Hiragana,  Katakana,
       Hangul,  Devanagari, Bengali, Gurmukhi, Gujarati, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu,
       Kannada,  Malayalam,  Thai,  Lao,  Khmer,  Bopomofo,  Tibetan,   Runic,
       Ethiopic, Canadian Syllabics, Cherokee, Mongolian, Ogham, Myanmar, Sin-
       hala, Thaana, Yi, and others.  For scripts not yet covered, research on
       how  to  best encode them for computer usage is still going on and they
       will be added eventually.  This might eventually include not  only  Hi-
       eroglyphs  and  various historic Indo-European languages, but even some
       selected artistic scripts such as Tengwar,  Cirth,  and  Klingon.   UCS
       also  covers  a large number of graphical, typographical, mathematical,
       and scientific symbols, including those provided  by  TeX,  Postscript,
       APL,  MS-DOS,  MS-Windows,  Macintosh,  OCR fonts, as well as many word
       processing and publishing systems, and more are being added.

       The UCS standard (ISO 10646) describes a 31-bit character set architec-
       ture  consisting  of  128  24-bit  groups, each divided into 256 16-bit
       planes made up of 256 8-bit rows with 256  column  positions,  one  for
       each character.  Part 1 of the standard (ISO 10646-1) defines the first
       65534 code positions (0x0000 to 0xfffd), which form the Basic Multilin-
       gual  Plane  (BMP), that is plane 0 in group 0.  Part 2 of the standard
       (ISO 10646-2) adds characters to group 0 outside  the  BMP  in  several
       supplementary  planes  in  the range 0x10000 to 0x10ffff.  There are no
       plans to add characters beyond 0x10ffff to the standard,  therefore  of
       the  entire  code  space, only a small fraction of group 0 will ever be
       actually used in the foreseeable future.  The BMP contains all  charac-
       ters found in the commonly used other character sets.  The supplemental
       planes added by ISO 10646-2 cover only more exotic characters for  spe-
       cial scientific, dictionary printing, publishing industry, higher-level
       protocol and enthusiast needs.

       The representation of each UCS character as a 2-byte word  is  referred
       to  as  the  UCS-2 form (only for BMP characters), whereas UCS-4 is the
       representation of each character by a 4-byte word.  In addition,  there
       exist  two  encoding  forms UTF-8 for backward compatibility with ASCII
       processing software and UTF-16 for the backward-compatible handling  of
       non-BMP characters up to 0x10ffff by UCS-2 software.

       The UCS characters 0x0000 to 0x007f are identical to those of the clas-
       sic US-ASCII character set and the characters in the  range  0x0000  to
       0x00ff are identical to those in ISO 8859-1 (Latin-1).

   Combining characters
       Some  code  points  in  UCS have been assigned to combining characters.
       These are similar to the nonspacing accent keys  on  a  typewriter.   A
       combining character just adds an accent to the previous character.  The
       most important accented characters have codes of their own in UCS, how-
       ever,  the  combining  character mechanism allows us to add accents and
       other diacritical marks to any character.  The combining characters al-
       ways  follow  the character which they modify.  For example, the German
       character Umlaut-A ("Latin capital letter A with diaeresis") can either
       be  represented by the precomposed UCS code 0x00c4, or alternatively as
       the combination of a normal "Latin capital  letter  A"  followed  by  a
       "combining diaeresis": 0x0041 0x0308.

       Combining  characters  are essential for instance for encoding the Thai
       script or for mathematical typesetting and users of  the  International
       Phonetic Alphabet.

   Implementation levels
       As  not  all  systems  are expected to support advanced mechanisms like
       combining characters, ISO 10646-1 specifies the following three  imple-
       mentation levels of UCS:

       Level 1  Combining  characters  and  Hangul Jamo (a variant encoding of
                the Korean script, where a Hangul syllable glyph is coded as a
                triplet or pair of vowel/consonant codes) are not supported.

       Level 2  In  addition  to level 1, combining characters are now allowed
                for some languages where they are essential (e.g., Thai,  Lao,
                Hebrew, Arabic, Devanagari, Malayalam).

       Level 3  All UCS characters are supported.

       The  Unicode  3.0 Standard published by the Unicode Consortium contains
       exactly the UCS Basic Multilingual Plane at implementation level 3,  as
       described  in  ISO  10646-1:2000.   Unicode  3.1 added the supplemental
       planes of ISO 10646-2.  The Unicode standard and technical reports pub-
       lished by the Unicode Consortium provide much additional information on
       the semantics and recommended usages of various characters.  They  pro-
       vide guidelines and algorithms for editing, sorting, comparing, normal-
       izing, converting, and displaying Unicode strings.

   Unicode under Linux
       Under GNU/Linux, the C type wchar_t is a signed  32-bit  integer  type.
       Its  values  are always interpreted by the C library as UCS code values
       (in all locales), a convention that is signaled by the GNU C library to
       applications  by  defining the constant __STDC_ISO_10646__ as specified
       in the ISO C99 standard.

       UCS/Unicode can be used just like ASCII in input/output streams, termi-
       nal  communication,  plaintext  files, filenames, and environment vari-
       ables in the ASCII compatible UTF-8 multibyte encoding.  To signal  the
       use  of UTF-8 as the character encoding to all applications, a suitable
       locale  has  to  be   selected   via   environment   variables   (e.g.,

       The  nl_langinfo(CODESET) function returns the name of the selected en-
       coding.  Library functions such as wctomb(3) and  mbsrtowcs(3)  can  be
       used  to transform the internal wchar_t characters and strings into the
       system character encoding and back and wcwidth(3) tells, how many posi-
       tions (0-2) the cursor is advanced by the output of a character.

   Private Use Areas (PUA)
       In  the Basic Multilingual Plane, the range 0xe000 to 0xf8ff will never
       be assigned to any characters by the standard and is reserved for  pri-
       vate usage.  For the Linux community, this private area has been subdi-
       vided further into the range 0xe000 to 0xefff which can be  used  indi-
       vidually  by  any  end-user  and  the Linux zone in the range 0xf000 to
       0xf8ff where extensions are coordinated among  all  Linux  users.   The
       registry  of the characters assigned to the Linux zone is maintained by
       LANANA and the registry itself is Documentation/admin-guide/unicode.rst
       in  the Linux kernel sources (or Documentation/unicode.txt before Linux

       Two other planes are reserved for private usage, plane  15  (Supplemen-
       tary  Private  Use Area-A, range 0xf0000 to 0xffffd) and plane 16 (Sup-
       plementary Private Use Area-B, range 0x100000 to 0x10fffd).

       *  Information technology -- Universal Multiple-Octet  Coded  Character
          Set (UCS) -- Part 1: Architecture and Basic Multilingual Plane.  In-
          ternational Standard ISO/IEC 10646-1, International Organization for
          Standardization, Geneva, 2000.

          This  is  the  official  specification  of  UCS  .   Available  from

       *  The Unicode Standard, Version 3.0.  The Unicode Consortium, Addison-
          Wesley, Reading, MA, 2000, ISBN 0-201-61633-5.

       *  S. Harbison, G. Steele. C: A Reference Manual. Fourth edition, Pren-
          tice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1995, ISBN 0-13-326224-3.

          A good reference book about the C programming language.  The  fourth
          edition  covers  the 1994 Amendment 1 to the ISO C90 standard, which
          adds a large number of new C library functions for handling wide and
          multibyte  character  encodings,  but it does not yet cover ISO C99,
          which improved wide and multibyte character support even further.

       *  Unicode Technical Reports.

       *  Markus Kuhn: UTF-8 and Unicode FAQ for UNIX/Linux.

       *  Bruno Haible: Unicode HOWTO.

       locale(1), setlocale(3), charsets(7), utf-8(7)

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