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Several decades ago, the Hungarian company "Videoton" manufactured a videoterminal for which I couldn't find a Western prototype. It likely existed, as the device had been assigned a "ES" number, similar to the Easter Bloc clones of Western computer hardware. Please note that the VT-340 designation has no relation to DEC VT340.

The distinguishing characteristics were: serial or byte-parallel interface, ASCII-like encoding (or rather KOI-7 for Cyrillic, where Cyrillic letters replaced the lowercase Latin letters) - as opposed to EBCDIC, thus likely no IBM heritage; all control codes were single-byte, no escape sequences; cursor left was ^H (same as backspace, there was no separate key for backspace), the remaining three directions were ^X-^Y-^Z. There also were insert/delete line/char control codes; the direct positioning code was ^A; the board implementing this feature was optional.

Linefeeds (^J) and most other ctrl-characters (of which most did nothing interesting) occupied a character position, displayed as a space by default. The CTRL BLINK mode key would switch between the default mode and the "blinking controls" mode. It was possible to switch the terminal off-line, entering or editing the screen contents, ending with ^C (ETX), then moving the cursor to the beginning of the text to be sent and pressing "SEND".

It is quite probable that the prototype would be from Europe rather than the U.S.

I have asked that question a few times in various Russian fora over the last few years with no definitive answer. Nobody seems to remember what happened in the videoterminal world before DEC VT52.

  • I've seen a few terminals, including CP/M ones, but I've never seen ^X/^Y/^Z for cursor movement, or ^A for cursor positioning. A quick search through the Linux terminfo database (with hundreds of terminal definition strings, quite a few historic) didn't come up with any commands using ^X/^Y/^Z or ^A, either. So if it's based on a Western terminal, it must be a rare one. – dirkt Dec 13 '16 at 6:33
  • @dirkt: True; but I remember that there existed a termcap flag denoting that control characters take a space, so at least that mechanism was not original. And I'm hoping to find at least a prototype with the off-line/send capability. – Leo B. Dec 13 '16 at 7:00
  • If it helps: there was a distinguishing font feature: the ^ character was rounded, like an inverted breve diacritic. Was there a Western company known for this font style? – Leo B. Dec 13 '16 at 7:07
  • It's of course possible that the terminal was a mix of ideas: Offline editing/send from IBM terminals (3270 etc.), cursor movement etc. implemented with original control codes (because ESC sequences are long and ineffective ...), etc. – dirkt Dec 13 '16 at 8:38
  • @dirkt: It is possible. Videoton 340 was made together with ES 1010, a clone of the French Mitra line. Mitra used Honeywell VIP 7700, BSC 3270 (IBMish?) and Minitel. I wonder what were the control codes of Minitel. – Leo B. Dec 13 '16 at 8:50
2

One source says:

VT 340 is an alphanumerical display (16x80) developed by VIDEOTON independently, introduced in 1971.

  • Thank you! Apparently it is so; the closest resemblance I've found in terminfo was to a terminal by Honeywell (some combination of ^X/^Y/^Z for cursor movements) but very vague. – Leo B. Dec 21 '16 at 4:00
  • I wonder where all those thousands of VT-340s sold for hard currency (ostensibly outside the en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comecon ) went. – Leo B. Dec 22 '16 at 1:22

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