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enter image description here

(Picture taken from Wkipedia)

The БК-0011M keyboard has these keys across the top row:

  • ПОВТ (perhaps short for Повтор, which means Repetition; perhaps used for key repeat)
  • КТ
  • Three arrows which look like they could be for cursor movement
    • Possibly a tab (but probably not, since there's also a ТАБ key in the expected location)
    • move cursor to beginning-of-line
    • move cursor to end-of-line
  • ИНД СУ (No idea, but СУ does also appear on another key where one could expect Caps Lock or Ctrl to be.)
  • БЛОК РЕД (At a guess, could be short for something involving редактор, which would be "editor". Perhaps it enters the editor for Vilnius BASIC or something.
  • ШАГ (шаг means step; perhaps it single-steps through a program. But I would be surprised to see such a function on a keyboard!)
  • СБР (presumably short for сброс, which means "reset". But Wikipedia notes of hardware mods, including a hardware reset, so maybe the СБР key does not do a hardware reset. Perhaps it's a software reset)
  • СТОП (obviously стоп means stop. Stops the current program, I'd guess. but isn't that what СБР is for)

On the second row:

  • Some kind of down arrow to the left of the ;+ key. (Some typewriters use this symbol for shift lock, could that be it?)
  • A backspace key on the far right

On the third row

  • ВС

On the fourth row

  • The СУ button I mentioned earlier. I'm not aware of a meaning for this word in Russian, and could not find any relevant meaning for this word in any other language spoken in the Soviet Union.

On the fifth row

  • ЗАГЛ and СТР presumably stand for заглавный (capital) and строчной (lower case)

On the bottom row

  • РУС and ЛАТ presumably stand for Russian and Latin and switch between the two alphabets on the keyboard

  • АР2 I have no idea what it could mean

I would appreciate some clarification of wht I'm missing, and if anyone is able to confirm my best guesses (Russian is not my first language)

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  • 3
    I couldn't help chuckling when I saw "редактор." It transliterates to "redactor," which as a pun in English might be a popular key among government bureaucrats.
    – JBH
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 13:33
  • 1
    @JBH Jo, except that Redaktor is in several European languages what a (Contributing) Editor is in English. Thus it literally means edit in those languages.
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 11:31
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    @Raffzahn I have absolutely no doubt of that! But the humor from an English-speaker's perspective is there none the less. Native English speakers who learn Finnish have fun with the language by expressing gratitude with the phrase "arvain varpat," which loosely translates to "key toes," which is the transliteration of "kiitos," which means "thanks!". Having fun with language is a joy.
    – JBH
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 18:07

3 Answers 3

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Not sure if it's the same, but my BK-0010.01Sch keyboard works like this:

Key Rus Eng Description / Function
ПОВТ повтор Repeat Repeat last key pressed
КТ Конец Текста End-of-text Discard edit line after cursor position
⇸∣ удаление правой от курсора части строки Delete Line Delete line right of cursor
сдвижка в строке Delete Delete character at cursor, shift remaining line left
раздвижка в строке Insert Insert one space at cursor, shift remaining line right
ИНД СУ Индикация Символов Управляющих Indicate Control Characters Toggle display of control characters (shown as inverted letters)
БЛОК РЕД блокировка редактирования Edit Lock Disables cursor keys
ШАГ пошаговое Step Single step execution (IIRC only BASIC)
СБР сброс Form feed Clear screen
СТОП стоп Stop Stop program
нижний регистр Shift Shift to lower row of letter symbols (inverted for Latin)
забой Backspace Delete character left of cursor
ТАБ таб Tab Tab
ВС Возврат Строки Return String Recall last line for edit
СУ Символ Управляющий Control Classic CTRL, generates C0 Control Codes (Latin upper case alpha character minus 0x40, i.e. 0x00..0x1F)
ВВОД/ВК (Возврат Каретки) Enter/Return Carriage Return
ЗАГЛ заглавный Uppercase Set uppercase
СТР строчный Lowercase Set lowercase
РУС русский Russian Switch for letter keys to generate Cyrillic symbols
АР2 второй символ управляющий Secondary Control Generates C1 Control Codes (Latin upper case alpha character plus 0x40 i.e. 0x80..0x9f). BK Series used them for various control function, for example colour
ЛАТ латиница Latin Switch for letter keys to generate Latin symbols
⭠ / ⭢ / ⭡ / ⭣ клавиши со стрелками Arrow keys Move the cursor

Russian is not my first language

Not even my third, so take this with a double amount of salt.Also hope I didn't add too many Cyrillic typos.

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    In practice КТ often works how you would expect "escape" to, and ВС seems also to function as carriage return without line feed i.e. "home". Obviolusly they can also be redefined in certain applications. For example ШАГ is also used in Norton file manager to select disks, and АР2 is used there to access the numbered menu options, whereas КТ there brings up a kind of preferneces menu. Fun fact: In Unix v6, CТОП causes trap panic.
    – harlandski
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 10:54
  • The СУ key also allows classic CTRL + things like CУ + Л for CTRL + L (clear the screen).
    – harlandski
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 10:56
  • 1
    @harlandski well, isn't that what is in the table? <kbd>СУ</kbd> is Control, which, when produced with (uppercase) letters give their ASCII 0x40, which is 0x0C or FF for CTRL-L, a code commonly used for clear screen. Also, as usual, all key usage differs depending on individual interpretation by OS, language and appliction.
    – Raffzahn
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 11:04
  • Ah, OK I misunderstood what you meant by that, yes that's it!
    – harlandski
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 11:19
  • 1
    @harlandski hope to have it clarified.
    – Raffzahn
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 11:46
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АР2 I have no idea what it could mean

I was trying to edit it into Raffzahn's (otherwise good) answer, but it looks like it's easier to answer this tiny part of the question in a separate post.

АР2 stands for Авторегистр два (literally, "auto-register two") which is the Russian name of ASCII's ESC character.

ГОСТ 27465-87 defines it this way:

Символ, который используется для образования дополнительных символов. Он меняет значение ограниченного числа следующих за ним комбинаций битов

which means

A symbol that is used to form additional symbols. It changes the meaning of a limited number of bit combinations that follow it.

Some earlier Soviet terminals (e.g. the 15ИЭ-00-013) had this key which did exactly what it said on the tin, i.e. sent the ESC character:

enter image description here

(033 is octal here, i.e. decimal 27)

Apparently the BK is doing something else when you press this button, but the abbreviation clearly stands for авторегистр 2, apparently because people were already used to having this key.

The same way we still have a button labeled "Esc" on our keyboards, even though these days, more often than not it doesn't modify the meaning of a key pressed after it.

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  • As far as I recall АР2 meant "alternative register 2", not "automatic register 2". Basically "alternative register 2" was Soviet naming for what is known as escape codes.
    – DmytroL
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 14:23
  • @DmytroL: it's spelled out as Авторегистр 2 in the GOST and in the earlier terminal's manual (right there on the screenshot in my post)
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 17:06
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I would like some clarification to the other existing answers.

  1. There was no "insert" mode of inputting text. The only mode was "replace" which was also the default mode on MSX machines which influenced BK design a lot. So, if you wanted to insert something in the middle of existing line, you had to shift the part right of cursor to the right with ⇰ button.

  2. On MSX machines the usual behavior of holding a key was that key repeated. Since the original BK keyboard had problems with key mechanics, they made a separate button for repeating the last key, while any press of a key resulted only in one keypress signal (this was not a hardware limitation, many games and other software later implemented repeat of holding down).

  3. ИНД СУ - shows the control characters (символы управления), a function you sometimes see in modern text processors. This key was used for other things in most software.

  4. БЛОК РЕД - absolutely useless button, I do not know why they introduced it. Usually was used for other stuff in third-party software.

  5. СТОП key worked like Ctrl+Break button on western computers. Was used to stop program execution. Generated hardware interrupt.

  6. The arrow down button ⇩ was an analog of Shift but with a chaveat: the default was the upper register, and this button was used to enter small letters. Worked as a modifier. The same effect on Latin and Cyrillic.

  7. СУ - analog of Ctrl. You can use it to emulate pressing of other keys, even those missing from the physical keyboard (such as diagonal arrow keys which existed only on membrane keyboard)

  8. КТ key was used in various third-party software and operating systems as an analog of Esc key, for closing menus, exiting programs, etc.

  9. АР2 - roughly equivalent of Alt or AltGr

  • АР2 key plus alphabetic keys allowed you to enter pseudographics.
  • АР2 key plus numeric keys served as functional keys f1-f10, in BASIC system and in other software.
  • Set the color of the text you enter (АР2+СУ+Q = red, АР2+СУ+R = blue, АР2+СУ+S = green, АР2+СУ+T = black).
  • Set the density of the characters (АР2+;) 32/64 per line
  • Invert the color of characters you enter (АР2+СУ+\), the characters are inverted together with their background
  • Toggle screen inversion (АР2+СУ+])
  • Use underlined font (АР2+СУ+_)
  • Toggle status bar (АР2+СУ+^)
  • Switch to the mini vector graphics editor (АР2+СУ+U). This mode is officially called "text graphics mode".

In this imbedded in the ROM graphics editor the cursor will become a crosshair. You can use arrow keys to control the cursor in this mode but they move it by 1 pixel instead of a character.

АР2+СУ+V toggles drawing,

АР2+СУ+W toggles erasing.

You can also change the color of the drawn line by the same combos as in text mode. The АР2+; combination switches between 256x256, 4-color mode and 512x256 black and white, the screen and its contents are kept between modes, only the drawing style and the size of the crosshair changes.

In graphic mode you could draw lines by entering the length of the line with numerical keys and then setting the direction with arrow keys (including the virtual diagonal arrow keys).

All these text and graphics modes were recorded as control symbols. This allowed to store vector graphics in text files. For instance, in Focal you could draw vector graphics with TYPE operator that was initially intended for text. While otherwise Focal does not support graphic output, with this trick you could draw playing cards, polygons, STOP road sign or whatever else, giving it the power of DRAW operator in MSX Basic.

The vector graphics would be displayed even in the source code view mode.

Since this graph mode was low-level, you could use its subroutines to draw lines from assembler programs with just one command after preparing the registers.

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  • Regarding modes and other context related remarks, what context are they about? BASIC, FOCAL, or any other? Feels like you're only referring to BASIC
    – Raffzahn
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 11:33
  • @Raffzahn all. Basic, Focal, system monitor mode, system debugger mode. Anywhere where you could enter text. Many Focal programs were using graphics with this trick even though Focal as a language does not support graphics. For instance, my relatives wrote a solitaire program in Focal with cards and the ♣ symbol were drawn using TYPE. I asked, why, as that symbol existed in the encoding as pseudographics, thay said, they did not notice (they implemented other suits as pseudograhics). Many other Focal programs used graphics this way as well.
    – Anixx
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 18:08
  • @Raffzahn Imagine you write code TYPE " them switch to graphics editor, draw what you want, exit graphics editor and put the closing quote.
    – Anixx
    Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 18:16

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