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BUG: Emacs ignores charcell width when running on terminal (w/rtfs & ide

From: Rich Felker
Subject: BUG: Emacs ignores charcell width when running on terminal (w/rtfs & ideas for fix)
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2006 15:16:50 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/

When GNU Emacs is run on a terminal (-nw mode) and editing UTF-8 text
files, it treats all characters as if they occupy one character cell
column on the terminal. This causes it to become confused about the
cursor position whenever there is CJK fullwidth text or scripts that
use nonspacing combining characters present, to the point that editing
is impossible.

My coding system settings:
(setq locale-coding-system 'utf-8)
(set-terminal-coding-system 'utf-8)
(set-keyboard-coding-system 'utf-8)
(set-selection-coding-system 'utf-8)
(prefer-coding-system 'utf-8)

I run emacs inside GNU screen, running on a real UTF-8 terminal, but
if you don't have a real UTF-8 terminal, screen can emulate UTF-8
(showing ? for unavailable width-1 characters and ?? for unavailable
width-2 characters) on any terminal. Using a UTF-8 xterm or other
terminal that supports UTF-8 may make it easier to see the problem

Attached to this email is a UTF-8 file you can open in Emacs which
exhibits the problem: Japanese Hiragana (for CJK wide) and Tibetan and
Thai (for nonspacing).

The root of the problem: In term.c, produce_glyphs() function, the
code assumes all multibyte characters for a given 'charset' have the
same width:

      /* A multi-byte character.  The display width is fixed for all
         characters of the set.  Some of the glyphs may have to be
         ignored because they are already displayed in a continued
         line.  */
      int charset = CHAR_CHARSET (it->c);
      it->pixel_width = CHARSET_WIDTH (charset);

I put together a horrible elaborate hack to work around this:

      struct glyph glyph = { .type = CHAR_GLYPH, .u = { .ch = it->c } };
      char *foo = encode_terminal_code (&glyph, 1, &terminal_coding);
      wchar_t wc = dec_utf8(foo); /* naive utf8 decode function */
      it->pixel_width = mk_wcwidth(wc); /* Kuhn's UCS wcwidth func */

But it's incorrect and assumes the terminal encoding is UTF-8.. not to
mention it's quite inefficient and ugly. (Note: for term.c, "pixel"
means character cell.)

With this change made, CJK characters are correctly treated as two
columns, and combining marks as 0, however combining marks disappear
_entirely_ due to the loop in append_glyph() (term.c) never executing
if width==0.

Correctly fixing the issue:

1. Needs some sort of width lookup for unicode characters without
   having to convert from Emacs' native encoding to UCS thru UTF-8.
   This should be straightforward for someone who understands the

2. The apppend_glyph() function needs to handle width==0 case, perhaps
   converting the previous glyph into a COMPOSITE_GLYPH instead of
   adding a CHAR_GLYPH. However I don't understand the COMPOSITE_GLYPH
   system in Emacs so I don't know if this is feasible.

At present this issue is making it very difficult for me to use
Tibetan text in composing email and material for the web, so I'm
looking for some way to fix it, either upstream or with hacks I can
make locally for the time being until it's fixed properly.


Attachment: example.txt
Description: Text document

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