RTL in console windows

Yaron Shahrabani sh.yaron at gmail.com
Fri Oct 15 09:06:44 CDT 2010

Hi there guys,
My name is Yaron Shahrabani and I'm an active translator of Wine to Hebrew.
As probably some of you may know Hebrew is written from right-to-left
meaning that the GUI and text rendering should work in a reversed/mirror
order as opposed to Latin text.

Due to some recent work doen by Alexander (Thanks! AJ, great work!), Hebrew
is better supported now by wine GUI mechanism but as a translator I ran into
some dillemas about the translation of strings that appear in console
window, well apparently this is a tough question.

Paul (Vriens) sent me 2 screenshots the other day that showed the way Hebrew
is handled by the different command line platforms:
The first one is the VTE (Virtual Terminal Emulator) which most of us know
as gnome-vte or gnome-terminal, this app emulates a command line interface
for X11.
As opposed to Konsole (The same app only for KDE) gnome's vte cannot handle
Hebrew correctly (is there any need to attach bugs or you'll just believe

gnome-terminal can show the Hebrew glyphs but they all appear in reversed
order, same thing happens for wine apps that present a command line output
(such as reg, ipconfig, etc.) when running via gnome-terminal.

The other option to display and work with a CLI app is via wineconsole,
since wineconsole does not support Hebrew our of the box we have to install
the msttcorefonts package in order to do so.

At the second screenshot that Paul sent me with the wineconsole screenshot
of reg (I translated the app but since I'm not sure how it will work I
haven't submitted it to wine-patches yet but I will send it here if needed)
Ive seen some blanks with ":" at the end meaning that the glyphs were
missing, few minutes later Paul sent me an updated screenshot after
installing the missing glyphs, the Hebrew looked absolutely perfect, the
only problem was that the semicolon still appeared to the right of the text
instead of to the left (where the sentence ends in Hebrew).

So my dillema is as follows:
Should we continue helping improving the support of displaying RTL languages
in wineconsole or should we just ignore the CLI strings like MS did with all
of their OSes (Since Windows XP Hebrew is no longer supported officially,
meaning that you have to apply 3rd party patches in order to make Hebrew
text appear in cmd), Hebrew in command line is only used by some old
healthcare services and lots of old games and ancient word processors and
database apps (some of them died after Windows dominated the market).

Another vital question I want to to this message is to ask our fellow Arabic
and Persian speakers what do they have to say about this issue and if their
propriatery operating systems has the same issues...

I would love to clarify any misclarifications.
Thank you all,
Kind regards,
Yaron Shahrabani

<Hebrew translator>
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