From the Wikipedia "ANSI escape code" article:

The name "ANSI escape sequence" dates from 1981 when ANSI adopted ECMA-48 as the standard ANSI X3.64 (and later, in 1997, withdrew it).

Does anybody know why the standard has been withdrawn. I tried to follow the link in the article but didn't find anything.

1 Answer 1


I found this paragraph in a withdrawal letter for FIPS which might be why it was withdrawn:

excerpt from withdrawal letter

It is no longer necessary for the government to mandate standards that duplicate industry standards. Federal government departments and agencies are directed by the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (P.L. 104-113), to use technical industry standards that are developed in voluntary consensus standards bodies.

There is also this letter/email:

 From: "richard l. hogan"
 <Richard=L.=Hogan%dpi%[email protected]>  Date: Tue, 29 Oct
 96 9:20:26 CST  Subject: Withdrawal of FIPS

Which discusses that the NIST and the Dept. of Commerce were dropping national designations for things such as ANSI 3.64 when they already had a international designation (ISO).

excerpt from that letter/email

One of the pieces of legislation that, according to NIST and the Department of Commerce, enabled the FIPS program was rescinded this year. The law - sometimes referred to as the Brooks Act - contained specific requirements for establishing uniform standards for information processing in the Federal government and for making those standards mandatory in Federal procurement actions. OMB Circular A-119 further clarified that mandatory Federal standards took precedence over voluntary national and international standards. Now, as a result of treaty negotiations making the Untied States part of the World Trade Organization, the Books Act has been replaced with new legislation that requires Federal agencies to consider voluntary international and national standards FIRST in procurement actions and to cite Federal standards only when no appropriate international or national standards exist.

In many cases FIPS have international (ISO) or national (ANSI) standard equivalents. For example, FIPS 123 (Data Descriptive Format for Information Interchange) is also ISO-8211. The change in legislation requires Federal procurements to now cite ISO-8211. Previously, we were required to cite FIPS- 123. As a result of this change, NIST has recognized an opportunity to make government "work better and cost less" by withdrawing any FIPS that already has an equivalent ANSI or ISO specification or any FIPS that is not mandatory; i.e., is just a guideline. What remains on the "active" FIPS list are mandatory Federal standards which currently have no ANSI or ISO equivalent; for example, the Spatial Data Transfer Standard (FIPS 173-1) and the Government Information Locator Service (FIPS 192).

NIST is not withdrawing important standards like Pascal, FIPS 109; SGML, FIPS 152; or Hydrologic Unit Codes, FIPS 103. The proper way to look at this action is that NIST is withdrawing the Federal designation of these standards in favor or their national or international standards designations; ANSI X3.97-1993 for FIPS 103, ISO 8879 for FIPS 152, and ANSI X3.145-1986 for FIPS 103. From a user point of view, this action by NIST is nothing more than a way to assure the designation change required by the new legislation.

I would interpret this as follows: Since ECMA-48 already covered the standard at an international level there was no need to create redundant standards within ANSI.

  • 1
    ECMA-48 is superior to ANSI 3.64 in one regard, section 7.2.1 finally explains what that acronym stands for: BI-DIRECTIONAL SUPPORT MODE.
    – Bob Stein
    Feb 17, 2015 at 12:34
  • @BobStein-VisiBone - thanks for the addition!
    – slm
    Feb 17, 2015 at 13:12

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