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Linux: Display Japanese or Chinese Or Any Other Multilingual Text On The Console / Shell Prompt

Most Linux distro can not display multilingual text on the console / shell prompt by default. There is a small hack which allows you to display other languages such as Hindi, Chinese, Korean, Japanese etc text on the prompt.

You need to use the bterm application, which is a terminal emulator that displays to a Linux frame buffer. It is able to display Unicode text on the console.

First, enable framebuffer by editing grub.conf file, enter:
# vi /etc/grub.conf
# vi /boot/grub/menu.lst
Find kernel line and append “vga=0x317” parameter:
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.18-92.1.1.el5 ro root=LABEL=/ console=tty0 console=ttyS1,19200n8 vga=0x317
Save and close the file. Next, you need to install bterm – a unicode capable terminal program for the Linux frame buffer. Type the following command to install it under Fedora / RHEL / Cent OS Linux, enter:
# yum install bogl-bterm
If you are using Debian / Ubuntu Linux, enter:
$ sudo apt-get install bogl-bterm
Now reboot your Linux desktop / workstation so that kernel can create /dev/fb0. To use multilingual text on the console, type the command bterm, enter:
$ /usr/bin/bterm

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • alireza July 18, 2008, 9:37 pm

    i do these steps for gain this method in fedora9 64 bit:
    1- vi /etc/grub.conf
    2- append vga=0x317 at the end of kernel line like this:
    title Fedora (2.6.25-14.fc9.x86_64)
    root (hd0,0)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.25-14.fc9.x86_64 ro root=UUID=638dd2e3-9fd1-4bcc-b259-9f84b2430050 rhgb quiet vga=0x317
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.25-14.fc9.x86_64.img
    3-yum install bogl-bterm
    4-reboot system
    5- type this command: /usr/bin/bterm
    but it wasnt work.i hav a error
    bash: /usr/bin/bterm/: Not a directory

  • alireza July 19, 2008, 6:23 am

    what should i do?

  • alireza July 20, 2008, 7:32 pm

    when i did it again in kernel of fedora9 i took this error:
    [alireza@localhost ~]$ /usr/bin/bterm
    bogl: opening /dev/tty0: No such file or directory

  • Binu.Raveendran July 22, 2008, 4:53 am

    Try to find bterm parth try following commands

    which bterm


    find / -maxdepth 3 -name bterm 2>/dev/null

    if it displays the executable try to run that


  • alireza July 24, 2008, 3:05 pm

    i did it according your order and advantage was:
    [root@localhost ~]# which bterm
    [root@localhost ~]# find / -maxdepth 3 -name bterm 2>/dev/null

  • Smita Gaikwad December 2, 2014, 4:39 am

    I am also facing same problem as alireza. I am using fedora13 32 bit. Followed all steps as mentioned and ran command /usr/bin/bterm which gave mi following error
    bogl: opening /dev/fb0: Not a directory.

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