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paddymac

High ASCII / ANSI characters are not properly displayed in Linux terminal or other programs

Question

I've been working with a lot of software and text files from the old DOS days of BBSing before the rise of the internet. The primary form of graphics in that era was ANSI - a glorious 16 colors and 256 characters. The first 0-127 characters, or low ASCII, are not a problem even now, but apparently characters 128-255, or high ASCII, were not actually standardized. Linux terminals do seem to have partial ANSI emulation down. Colors seem to display alright, for example, but certain features apparently don't work correctly so that sometimes lines of text don't end when they should so that what should appear on multiple lines continues unabated on a single line. Or sometimes text appears misaligned either a little or quite badly.

 

When accessing online BBS systems via telnet, putty, gcomm, or other such programs, the graphics don't appear correctly. There are a handful of specialized terminals that handle everything internally and get it right. So at least there are a few viable options here. But when I open such files in an editor such as nano, vi, or try to display them with cat, more, or other programs, they do not display correctly. Following are a few screenshots to try to explain the issue visually.

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