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May 9, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

AT&T Unix Pacific has announced its long-awaited Multinational Language Supplement that not only handles the multi-byte characters of Asian languages but also translates messages from Unix utilities and applications developed under the system into whatever language the user is using. It is also offering enhancements to its Japanese Application Environment that includes messages in the four systems used to represent the Japanese language – Kanji, Katakana, Hiragana, and Romaji – and ports of two popular MS-DOS Japanese language input and conversion systems to System V’s Streams architecture. The first edition of the Japanese Environment, introduced last year, allowed the System V user to input, output and process the four sets of characters. It supported terminals and printers, a dictionary, and a full-screen editor for Japanese characters. The different systems are able to communicate only with each other and with printers, terminals and the operating system without confusion by using the Streams architecture. Streams works by totally ignoring the content of any message, file or command that is passed to it. It treats everything as a byte stream to be wrapped up, taken to where it wants to go by whatever bus or channel is available, unwrapped and delivered in exactly the form in which it was received, independent of the hardware architecture, application, communications media, and protocols. The two Japanese input systems were adapted and ported jointly by AT&T Unix Pacific, Vacs Corp and SCR Corp and are described as popular, powerful Katakana-Kanji conversion systems. The Multinational Language Supplement can simultaneously handle multi-byte languages such as Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, as well as European languages. Each language comes as a separate module, with separate support for terminals and printers. Under the Multinational Language Supplement, Unix system commands process characters in the Extended Unix system Code sets, a template allowing the system software to be independent of the user’s native language. The systems commands work with Extended Unix Code sets, allowing Unix to work with any language that has been mapped onto the Extended Code template structure. The messaging facility allows Unix system commands and applications messages to be output in any language, with the language selected when the environment is defined at the start of a session. The system also automatically adjusts the date and time formats for each language, as well as decimal points and unit commas.

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