Internationalization and NLS overview
SvarDOS is a multi-language system, meaning that it can be set to operate in a
variety of languages. This process comes in several distinct steps, all of
which are preset inside AUTOEXEC.BAT by the SvarDOS installer during the
installation of your system.
This article aims at explaining the basics to provide the user with enough
knowledge to configure his system in the most common situations. For detailed
information about advanced settings please consult the documentation of each
of the mentioned programs.
Outputting message in your language
The majority of CORE SvarDOS programs are able to output their messages in
different languages. To know which language should be used, they look for two
LANG - the language to output messages in
NLSPATH - provides the path where all language files are stored
Setting up your video adapter to a suitable codepage
Many languages come with glyphs specific to their alphabet. That is why
codepages have been designed - a codepage is a set of glyphs that are adapted
to display one or more languages. The default codepage hardcoded into most
video adapters is the 437 codepage, known as "US ASCII". Using this codepage
requires no configuration, but outputting messages in a non-English language
might require using a different codepage. Loading a user codepage requires an
EGA or VGA card. Older cards (MDA, CGA, Hercules...) had a single codepage
hardwired in their memory.
Setting up a custom (non-437) codepage on your system requires the DISPLAY
driver to be loaded. This driver is a TSR that makes sure to refresh the
custom codepage whenever the video adapter reverts to its default one
(typically after every video mode change).
To load the DISPLAY driver, use this command:
Once DISPLAY is loaded, you may configure your video adapter with the codepage
of your choice using the two commands below:
MODE CON CP PREP=((CODEPAGE) PATH-TO-THE-CPI-DEFINITION)
MODE CON CP SEL=CODEPAGE
...where "CODEPAGE" is the identifier of your codepage, like 850, 991, etc and
"PATH-TO-CPI-DEFINITION" is the full path to the CPI or CPX file that contains
the definition of glyphs for the given codepage.
Working example for the Polish language:
MODE CON CP PREP=((991) C:\SVARDOS\CPI\EGA10.CPX)
MODE CON CP SEL=991
You may see the full list of available CPX files and the exact codepages that
each of them contain here: List of CPX files and their codepages.
Displaying country-specific glyphs is one thing, but typing them is another.
To set up the keyboard layout suitable to your country, use the "KEYB" TSR.
Example: KEYB PL
A language is not only different words and glyphs, it is also different
conventions for things like paper sizes, currency, units of measurement,
battery sizes, time format, and many other.
DOS NLS support addresses a few of these variations through a standard,
system-wide NLS API. In SvarDOS, this API can be configured through the
LOCALCFG tool that generates a SYS file suitable for being loaded via a
COUNTRY directive in CONFIG.SYS.