Display Chinese in Pure Text Terminal
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Fbterm is the old tool I newly found for displaying Chinese characters in pure text terminal.
I had some display driver issues the other day and I couldn’t launch the graphical interface on my desktop machine. I had to work under the pure text terminal. It doesn’t support double width characters like Chinese, which happens to be my default displaying language. As a result, some command outputs just showed gibberish diamond characters. I had to change the language environment variable temporarily so that the output was switched to English. Out of curiosity, I started looking for a solution for displaying Chinese characters in pure text terminal.
After some searching and testing, I finally got Fbterm. It is also mentioned in the Arch Linux wiki. Basically, it is another terminal emulator that “supports double width scripts like Chinese, Japanese, etc”. Simply start it via the command
fbterm in the pure text terminal, and Chinese characters should display correctly. For me, this is enough, so I didn’t try adding Chinese input methods under Fbterm. I think it’s technically possible.
Note one caveat though. The development for Fbterm has stopped a long time ago. I just use it occasionally, and I’d say that it is still pretty good at its own job.
Updates on 2020-08-18: Apparently, Fbterm has been removed from AUR and its wiki page is archived due to package being too old. Although I believe one can still build it from the source, it’s time to find an alternative. zhcon is by far the best one I’ve found. It even has a built-in Chinese input method. Awesome. Its user interface reminds me of the ancient UCDOS. Those were the days.
Updates on 2021-05-24: I’ve just done a rescue task to save my desktop where LightDM won’t start.
zhcon didn’t display the Chinese characters properly for some reason, and I had to go back to the old