xterm fails to display the Indian fonts (Hindi). Instead, it displays the garbage character.

I'm using xterm version 293 on LFS

I copied sample hindi text from here


It is not only for Indian fonts.Instead you can say combining characters. Most of the Indian language scripts are combining characters :-) .For example Kannada,Hindi,Tamil,Malayalam etc,etc. almost all :-)

Xterm only supported Level 1 (no combining characters) of ISO 10646-1 with fixed character width and left-to-right writing direction[No Arab characters,I guess it is urdu that is from right to left]. In other words, the terminal semantics were basically the same as for ISO 8859-1, except that it can now decode UTF-8 and can access 16-bit characters.

The xterm version that comes with XFree86 4.0 or higher includes UTF-8 support. To activate it, start xterm in a UTF-8 locale and use a font with iso10646-1 encoding, for instance with

LC_CTYPE=en_GB.UTF-8 xterm -fn '-Misc-Fixed-Medium-R-SemiCondensed--13-120-75-75-C-60-ISO10646-1'

If you are not using XFree86 4.0 or newer, then you can alternatively download the latest xterm development version separately and compile it yourself with

./configure --enable-wide-chars ; make

or alternatively with

xmkmf; make Makefiles; make; make install; make install.man.

If you do not have UTF-8 locale support available, use command line option -u8 when you invoke xterm to switch input and output to UTF-8.

For more info on this refer the following link:


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.