Table of Contents

Cyrillic console tools
X Window
Installing fonts in X Window
Keyboard input
Location of document and contacting the author

This document describes methods necessary for editing, viewing, and printing documents using Cyrillic characters in Linux. Although it is assumed that you are using Linux as your operating system, most of the information can be applied to other flavors of Unix.

Most of the information in the full document is in Russian, thus in order to read it, you will have to be able to read Russian and view Cyrillic. This document is a shortened version: it introduces the simplest methods necessary to setup your environment to read in Russian without necessarily completely Russifying it. Here we will not consider all methods for Russification, but only the easiest ones[1]. We assume that your distribution is sufficiently modern, otherwise you will have to manually install packages which are listed in this document.

Linux supports two interfaces for displaying information — console, or text mode, and graphical, supported by the X Window System. Each of the interfaces requires separate configuration.


Russification of text console — easiest method to display and enter Cyrillic symbols.

For using Cyrillic in the console, we recommend using package consoletools, with the simple configuration as described below.


The package can be found at the URL console-tools.

If your distribution uses the consoletools package, you need to execute the following commands, substituting your appropriate path:


After executing these commands, you can switch the keyboard layout for inputing Cyrillic characters using the right Control (although sometimes the switch key is implicitly set to Alt or Caps Lock).

Unfortunately, fonts and keyboard layouts distributed with these packages do not allow the full use of the console driver. Thus it is recommended that you use console-tools-cyrillic by Viktor Wagner (the section called “Cyrillic console tools”).

Cyrillic console tools

This package contains Cyrillic console fonts and tables for recoding in Linux, as well as keyboard layouts and other useful things. The latest version of this package can be found at This package is actively developed by Viktor Wagner (

To configure it correctly, read the file README, which is included in the distribution. The package requires the utilities found in consoletools (the section called “consoletools”).

To configure the console use these commands:

consolechars -f UniCyr_8x16.psf -m koi8-r.acm

[1] For a complete configuration of your environment you will need to be able to read in Russian