man utf () - character set and format


UTF, Unicode, ASCII, rune - character set and format


The Plan 9 character set and representation are based on Unicode and on a proposed X-Open multibyte FSS-UCS-TF (File System Safe Universal Character Set Transformation Format) encoding. Unicode represents its characters in 16 bits; FSS-UCS-TF, or just UTF, represent such values in an 8-bit byte stream.

In Plan 9, a rune is a 16-bit quantity representing a Unicode character. Internally, programs may store characters as runes. However, any external manifestation of textual information, in files or at the interface between programs, uses a machine-independent, byte-stream encoding called UTF.

UTF is designed so the 7-bit ASCII set (values hexadecimal 00 to 7F), appear only as themselves in the encoding. Runes with values above 7F appear as sequences of two or more bytes with values only from 80 to FF.

The UTF encoding of Unicode is backward compatible with ASCIIc : programs presented only with ASCII work on Plan 9 even if not written to deal with UTF, as do programs that deal with uninterpreted byte streams. However, programs that perform semantic processing on ASCII graphic characters must convert from UTF to runes in order to work properly with non-c ASCII input. See rune(3g).

Letting numbers be binary, a rune x is converted to a multibyte UTF sequence as follows:

01. x in [00000000.0bbbbbbb] 0bbbbbbb

10. x in [00000bbb.bbbbbbbb] 110bbbbb, 10bbbbbb

11. x in [bbbbbbbb.bbbbbbbb] 1110bbbb, 10bbbbbb, 10bbbbbb

Conversion 01 provides a one-byte sequence that spans the ASCII character set in a compatible way. Conversions 10 and 11 represent higher-valued characters as sequences of two or three bytes with the high bit set. Plan 9 does not support the 4, 5, and 6 byte sequences proposed by X-Open. When there are multiple ways to encode a value, for example rune 0, the shortest encoding is used.

In the inverse mapping, any sequence except those described above is incorrect and is converted to rune 0080.


ascii(7), rune(3g), keyboard(5g), The Unicode Standard.