Random Tech Thoughts

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Emacs 23 and Unicode Support

I am using UTF-8 encoding on my system. I have to do so because: (1) I speak Chinese and I have to mix Chinese and English. (2) I have a FAT32 partition which uses UTF-8 encoding and I have some files using Chinese names in it. I don’t know how to change it’s encoding. (3) UTF-8 encoding has many benefits and I hope it will become the mainstream. But here comes the problem. Emacs 21 doesn’t have support for Chinese UTF-8 encoding, when I open a Chinese text file which is encoded in UTF-8, all I got are backslashes and digitals… Luckily enough, there is already Emacs supporting what I need though not very stable stable—that’s Emacs 23. It’s internal encoding is based on UTF-8. So far, it can only be got from the Emacs CVS repository. Using the following command:

$: export CVS_RSH=ssh

$: cvs -z3 -d:ext:anoncvs@savannah.gnu.org:/cvsroot/emacs co -r emacs-unicode-2 emacs

After getting the source code, use “make bootstrap && make install” to compile and install it. Now it’s working quite well on my system. Really great! But I still don’t know how to make LaTeX work with UTF-8 encoded Chinese text files, so sometimes I have to use iconv to convert from UTF-8 to GB2312 or directly edit files encoded in GB2312 with Emacs. It’s not so convenient but I can bear it :–( . Things will be even greater if I can use UTF-8 encoding for all my files!