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69 votes
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Why did older computers and OSes use UPPER case instead of lower case?

TL;DR: Upper Case Is the Default for Latin Script. Latin script is based on upper case and designed around that. Lower case is a later add-on (see below) for cursive. Default use-case for Latin script ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 225k
23 votes

Why did older computers and OSes use UPPER case instead of lower case?

I would venture to say that it stems primarily from the telegraph tradition, starting with Baudot (1870s) which eventually led to ITA2. Essentially 5 and 6 bit codes (arguably a 5-bit code with a ...
manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact's user avatar
15 votes
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How to decode mojibake in old Macintosh text files?

(Summarizing the various comments.) Filenames and text files on HFS disks are usually encoded with an Apple-specific character set, often Mac OS Roman. This particular disk uses a mix of that and ...
14 votes

Why did older computers and OSes use UPPER case instead of lower case?

Teleprinters were in widespread use for decades before computers arrived. Teleprinters (Teletypes, etc) could read and write text on punched paper tape. They were the first interactive i/o adapted to ...
Ed_B's user avatar
  • 141
10 votes

Why did older computers and OSes use UPPER case instead of lower case?

Uppercase letters are more distinctive. Additionally, you typically learn uppercase letters first, as they are considered the easiest, followed by lowercase letters, and then more complex handwritten ...
gilhad's user avatar
  • 355
8 votes

Why did older computers and OSes use UPPER case instead of lower case?

In addition to the answers already given: technical limitations. Lowercase characters could often not be displayed or printed properly. A nice example is the HP-41C, which had a 14-segment display and ...
Klaws's user avatar
  • 521
6 votes

Why did older computers and OSes use UPPER case instead of lower case?

I would assume the main reason was the availability of input/output devices. Mechanical printers and teletypes are getting increasingly more complex the more characters they need to support - going ...
tofro's user avatar
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5 votes

Is the "IBM standard character set manual" around?

The most recent (known) IBM manual on code pages Character Data Representation Architecture: Reference & Registry, SC09-2190-00, from 1995. Also from the same year is the associated overview ...
Simon Kissane's user avatar
1 vote

Why did older computers and OSes use UPPER case instead of lower case?

Before the availability of affordable video display adapters, the original language definitions for BASIC and FORTRAN were created containing upper case keywords. So the earliest text-mode (e.g. not ...
hotpaw2's user avatar
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1 vote

Is there a common convention to describe the encoding of a legacy text file?

The general way this has been done for pretty much forever, is to have a set of 'patterns' (perhaps rexexps, perhaps something else) that are run against the file and the first (or highest priority) ...
Chris Dodd's user avatar

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