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Where has the plain acute character gone


I'm using Debian 3.1 in an, until recently, regularly updated
system, in Germany.

I am desperately trying to make bash (or xterm or konsole using
bash) display an "acute" (034, b54 or so) character.

In ancient times, one could display such a character using the
acute key, and then the space key (with keyboard layout with so
called "dead keys", nowadays "basic") or just the acute key
(with keyboard layout "nodeadkeys").

Obviously, those people who could not distinguish the acute from
the apostrophe made many other people work out solutions to help
them avoid typing an "acute" when they wanted an "apostrophe".

But now, this has probably gone too far:

I just noticed that whenever I try to enter a plain "acute"
(not sitting on top of a vowel or so) now, either nothing or an
apostrophe is displayed instead. Even when I switch to English
keyboard layout, an apostrophe appears when I press the acute
key. If I use charmap or whatever to copy and paste the "acute"
sign from any source into xterm or konsole, either nothing appears,
or an apostrope character appears. If I switch over to the text
mode terminal, there's no difference between the two characters
any more either.

The best I could achieve was to get an acute character into a
text file using kedit (and even getting there was an Odyssey).
I saved the resulting file as a shell script. But when bash
was told to execute that, it complained and displayed
questionmarks instead of acutes instead. Very funny.

I'm totally annoyed by this thing. Seeing that apostrophe appear
when I type an acute gives me the feeling of a sting in the back
of my head in the meantime, and I've considered using physical
violence against the keyboard and screen, something that's really
rare for me, and might be quite an expensive and ineffective
approach as well.

Until here, I've read a couple of pages on how to enter special
characters, and on acute apostrophic history and underlying
considerations, but apparently, the character is not just mis-
translated when it's being entered, but when it's being displayed
or interpreted.

I would prefer my keyboard work in the way that the things that
appear on the screen match the things printed onto the keys first.
I don't want to have to dig into manuals, patch files or whatever
just to get some plain straightforward function back that has been
lost in the process of some system update. And I don't want two
different keys regularly produce the same character, just because
someone thinks that another character might be obsolete. What will
we save next, maybe simplify y and z just because some German users
don't know that an English BIOS asking for "y" wants you to press
the "z" key before the German keyboard drivers are loaded, and the
"z" is rarely required anyway?

As I'm quite fed up with looking around for more information on
something that obviously worked before, and I don't have the energy
to keep myself up to date with everything going on in the "supposedly
improving character handling" field, I would very much appreciate
somebody telling me what's going on here, and what would be a quick
and reliably working way to get the ability back to enter and display
and interpret an acute character in the bash.

I'm overly tired now, and I've spent more than hour in vain to get
that character working in the most simple way it should, to no
avail - sorry for being somewhat disappointed and showing that
around maybe a bit too much.

Thank you very much for any help in advance, though.

Dr. med. Jörg M. Sigle
http://www.ql-recorder.com                        +49-5527-846-535
http://www.jsigle.com       Have a lovely day...  +49-7043-950-6864

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