Jabberwocky Variations
JV Top : Translations : Displaying Cyrillic Text

Displaying Cyrillic Text

This introduction to KOI, and displaying and writing Cyrillic text comes from the "Russification of Macintosh" page (link below)

KOI stands for "Kod Obmena Informatsii" or Code of Information Exchange. It is an 8-bit encoding (hence the name KOI8) which includes both Latin and Cyrillic alphabets and is used in Russia predominantly for communication purposes, such as e-mail, USENET, Internet publishing via WWW, Gopher, etc.

There are other standards of character encoding, both Latin and Cyrillic. For example, a standard used in the USA is called ASCII or American National Standard Code for Information Interchange; its most common form is 7-bit encoding which only contains characters of the Latin alphabet. Besides KOI8, there are two more methods of encoding Cyrillic text, and while surfing the Internet, you might see the names Codepage 1251 (MS-Windows ANSI) and Codepage 866 (Alternative PC). Those encodings are more commonly used on Windows and DOS computers, respectively.

A KOI8 font is needed to be able to display KOI8 text; to be able to write in KOI8, an appropriate keyboard layout is also necessary.

Sites to help you install and use Cyrillic resources on your own computer have already been set up and are certainly doing better jobs of it than I could do myself. Hence only links and a short description of each site are given below. Once you go there, you're on your own. (But the maintainers of the sites are pretty good tour guides, as far as I can tell.)

Russification of Macintosh


Macintosh-specific site. For users of Microsoft Windows and X Windows, see next item. (This site is also the source of the succinct introduction to KOI and Cyrillic encoding, above.)

From the homepage:
This edition of "Russification of the Macintosh" features a new and improved way of organizing and presenting the contents of this server to you, the user. Now you can make your Mac "speak" Russian simply by following 4 easy steps. There's a separate page for each one of the steps containing all the necessary information and instructions. In addition, there will be links to more in-depth discussion for those of you who are curious about the process of Russification. To begin, click on 1-2-3-4. It's that easy!



Maintained by Vadim Maslov's, this site is a very good source of information on Russian/Soviet related issues. It has a large number of resources (fonts, drivers, etc.) for displaying and writing Cyrillic text for Microsoft Windows and X Windows platforms (for Macintosh platform, see previous item). Also includes fonts for TeX/LaTeX, and several text converters.

Russian Fonts


A large collection of Cyrillic fonts for both Macintosh and Windows systems. The site itself displays what the fonts look like using graphics, but if you download the fonts, your own system requires prior installation of Cyrillic encoding software (one of the two links above), otherwise you won't be able to see or use them locally.



Nothing to download here (except the page itself, I guess). This is a table of Cyrillic encodings as used on different platforms (Unix, MS DOS, MS Windows, Macintosh, as well as the ISO-8859-5 standard). (Non Russian symbols are not included in the table). Probably most useful for techies (programmers, reseachers, coders interested in multilingual Web pages or applications), but anyone who doesn't already know Russian might be interested in the pronounciation of the letters of the Russian alphabet, given as part of the table.

JV Top : Translations : Displaying Cyrillic Text

keith lim     keithlim@pobox.com     http://pobox.com/~keithlim/