AlFaseeh- Arabic Terminal Emulator

AlFaseeh- Arabic Terminal Emulator

Newsgroups: soc.culture.arabic From: (Ibaa Oueichek) Subject: AlFaseeh Update Message-ID: Organization: IMAG, Grenoble, France Date: Wed, 27 Apr 1994 11:40:35 GMT

Announcing AlFaseeh v1.0, an Arabic Terminal emulator for Macintosh.

* What is AlFaseeh ?

AlFaseeh is an Arabic terminal emulator. A terminal emulator is a program which allows you to transform your PC into a terminal, a very popular example is Kermit which emulates VT100 protocole. An Arabic terminal emulator allows users to enter and display Arabic text in addition to Roman text and even mix both of them.

* What can I do with this "Arabic whatsoever" stuff ?????

What can you do ? Almost everything you can do with a terminal. It allows you to exchange Arabic data with non script-aware applications, so you can write Arabic files using standard editors like vi and emacs. These files can be email messages or news articles. In other words, you can use it to exchange mail and news articles in Arabic without any need to use special mail or news tools.

* What are the features of this program ?

- Good vt100 compatibility. I've tested the program and it seems to work well with all the vt100 sequences. It accepts even some vt102 commands. Features not supported are double dimension characters, 132 columns (too small), bold and underlined characters (need special font design, will be supported in the next version) and vt52 mode. There's one bug (documented, and thus a "feature") with the "send cursor position" sequence. It is a problem with my C compiler that i wasn't able to resolve.

- Supports the Apple CommToolBox connection manager, so you can use it on whatever connection medium you have (modem, serial, or TCP/IP connections). Notice that you need to install the appropriate tool (see below for information about getting free connection tools).

- 7 bits bilingual mode: Arabic characters supports the ASMO-449 standard (ISO 9036). - 8 bits bilingual mode: Arabic characters supports the ASMO-708 (ISO 8859-6) standard.

- The terminal provides four bilingual modes: Arabic mode. Roman mode. Roman inserted in Arabic. Arabic inserted in Roman.

* What do I need to run AlFaseeh ?

You need a Macintosh running Arabic system 7.0.1 or later. AlFaseeh uses the Macintosh CommToolBox routines to establish connection with the remote host. So you need to install the appropriate tool depending on your connection with your host.

If you need to establish TCP/IP connection, you can get the TGE TCP tool by anonymous ftp from:

If you need to establish serial connection (you have a direct serial connection with the host) you can use the Apple serial tool.

If you are using a modem then you need the Apple modem tool. All Apple CommToolbox tools are available from

Once you've got the appropriate tool you need to install it; just drop it in your extension folder, there's no need to restart your machine.

Notice for users who run system 6 ONLY: Users who are running older systems with system 6.0.2 and later may try to install the commtoolbox (built in with system 7) and give the program a try.

* What do you mean by "bilingual modes" ? A "bilingual mode" is the set of rules used by the terminal to decide how characters are displayed or sent to the host. We have four bilingual modes:

Roman mode: That's the standard mode, like any standard terminal you've already seen. Characters are displayed from left to right; the keyboard generates Roman characters. Characters received from the host are displayed as Roman characters. When Arabic characters are sent the terminal switches to Arabic insertion mode.

Arabic mode is basically the same thing as Roman mode, (exchange Roman and Arabic, left and right).

Arabic insertion mode: If you are writing a Roman text and wish to insert an Arabic word into your text you need to enter Arabic insertion mode. In this mode, the cursor remains at its place and Arabic text will slide to the right to allow insertion of new characters.

Roman insertion mode is the same thing as Arabic insertion mode (exchange Roman and Arabic, left and right).

* How does the program support Arabic script ?. Hmmm, that'll be a little difficult to explain. There are two possible Arabization modes: 7 bits mode and 8 bits mode.

a- With 7 bits mode, characters are represented on 7 bits. However, 7bits are NOT enough to represent Arabic AND Roman characters in the same coding set. Therefore, two 7-bit coding sets are used, one Arabic and one Roman. The terminal decides the script of a character in function of it's bilingual mode (Roman, Arabic, Roman insertion, Arabic insertion). In order to switch between these two representations, we use a special mechanism: the GLCC's (Graphic Language Control Characters). These are graphic characters with a special function: to switch from one language to the other. If the terminal receives a "To Roman" GLCC it has the following effects:

- If the terminal is in Arabic mode, Roman insertion is started. - If the terminal is in Arabic insertion mode, the insertion is closed and the terminal goes back to Roman mode.

If the terminal receives TWO "To Roman" GLCC's, the Bilingual mode is set to Roman.

As a general rule: One GLCC opens (or closes) insertions. Two GLCC's Change the Main Bilingual mode. These characters are displayed as spaces.

If you DON'T want to use GLCC's you can disable switching by selecting the "Bilingual modes" command from the Edit menu.

Currents GLCC's used: '{' is the "To Arabic" GLCC. '}' is the "To Roman" GLCC.

b- In 8 bits mode, there is enough place to represent the Arabic and the Roman alphabets in the same coding set. The actual coding set adopted is the ISO 8859-6 (a.k.a ASMO 708). This coding set is divided into two subsets:

- Characters with code < 128 are treated as Roman characters. - Characters with code >= 128 are treated as Arabic characters.

PS: The Arabic set doesn't define separators, except for the following codes: 0xA0, 0xA4, 0xAC, OxAD, 0xBB, OxBF.

In order to switch between Arabic and Roman modes, the terminal doesn't need any special switch sequence. All what it needs is to check the 8th bit of the character. If the character script is different from the current script an insertion is started. However, in order to set the main script (Arabic mode or Roman mode) you need to select it manually from the Script menu.

* Example:

First step : Launch the application, it will open a window but will not establish the connection unless you ask it to do so. Second step: Open a connection with your host machine. To do so, you need to install the appropriate connection tool. To open a connection select the "Open Connection" command from the file menu. You'll be prompted with a connection-tool-dependant dialog box which will allow you to establish the connection and configure your connection parameters.

Once you are logged into your account, you can try to create a file containing bilingual text. Select the "Bilingual Settings" from the edit menu to decide which mode you want to use, 7/8 bits. Remember that if you use 7 bits mode you need to use GLCCs to switch between scripts:

{ to insert Roman text. } to insert Arabic text. {{ To set main script to Arabic. }} To set main script to Roman.

If you use 8 bits mode you don't need GLCCs, you can select your main script from the Script menu. And to insert strings from a different script you just change the keyboard script by typing Cmd-space.

PS: If you use the 8 bits mode, check that your connection tool supports 8 bits characters. In Particular, the TGE TCP tool should be set to Binary mode in ordre to be able to send and receive 8 bits characters.

Once you've finished editing, you can send the file you've written by email to anyone of your friends. If (s)he uses the same program, or any other program which recognizes the ASMO-708, ASMO-449 standards used (s)he'll be able to read your mail in Arabic.

AlFaseeh (Arabic Terminal emulator) v1.0 has been uploaded to:

I've received several email requests about the availability of a PC version. I'll do my best to provide one by the end of Oct. I've also received a bug report about the program crashing on Macs with smaller screens (9" classic Mac screen). I've corrected the problem using Resedit. I'll upload the new version asap.

If you have a classic type Macintosh (Mac_,SE, SE/30,ClassicI/II/Col) then you need the new version. I'll upload it to today, you can check for it there.

PLEASE DON'T EMAIL ME ANYMORE, I'LL BE ABSENT TILL THE END OF SEPT. Thank you for your attention and see you soon.

* Final detail:

AlFaseeh is a shareware. If you like it and if you want to help me improving the software and providing versions for other systems (i'm working on a Windows version) please pay your shareware fees. My current address is:

Ibaa Oueichek 22 bis avenue de Valmy Grenoble 38100 France.

If you have any comments and bug reports, you are welcome to send them by email to:

PS: I'll be absent between May 1st and the end of Sept 1994. Unfortunately, I won't have access to my email so you'll have to wait a little bit before you get your answer.

* Special thanks to:

Alexandre Khalil, for his help and advices. For his efforts testing the software and his positive feedback. And finally for his great effort in maintaining the reader mailing list.

Bassem Medawar, Anoosh Husseini, Bashar Abou Seido for their insightful comments and their faithful efforts to help promoting Arabic software.

Thank you for your attention and see you soon.

Ibaa Oueichek. Monday, April 25th, 1994.

-- Sham(u) ya tha (s)seif(u) lam yaghib(i) | Ibaa Oueichek. Ya jamal(al) majd(i) fi(l) kutub(i) | Kablak(i) (t)tareekh(u) fi thulmaten | Lab de Genie Informatique, IMAG Baadak(i) staula ala (sh)shuhub(i) | 46, Av. Felix Viallet, Grenoble.

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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