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Encyclopedia > EBCDIC

EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code) is an 8-bit character encoding (code page) used on IBM mainframe operating systems, like z/OS, OS/390, VM and VSE, as well as IBM minicomputer operating systems like OS/400 and i5/OS. It is also employed on various non-IBM platforms such as Fujitsu-Siemens' BS2000/OSD, HP MPE/iX, and Unisys MCP. It descended from punched cards and the corresponding six bit binary-coded decimal code that most of IBM's computer peripherals of the late 1950s and early 1960s used. Binary-coded decimal (BCD) is a numeral system used in computing and in electronics systems. ... In communications, a code is a rule for converting a piece of information (for example, a letter, word, or phrase) into another form or representation, not necessarily of the same type. ... A bit refers to a digit in the binary numeral system (base 2). ... A character encoding consists of a code that pairs a sequence of characters from a given set with something else, such as a sequence of natural numbers, octets or electrical pulses, in order to facilitate the storage of text in computers and the transmission of text through telecommunication networks. ... Code page is the traditional IBM term used for a specific character encoding table: a mapping in which a sequence of bits, usually a single octet representing integer values 0 through 255, is associated with a specific character. ... An IBM mainframe is a large, high-performance computer made by International Business Machines (IBM). ... In computing, an operating system (OS) is the system software responsible for the direct control and management of hardware and basic system operations. ... z/OS Welcome Screen seen through a terminal emulator The title of this article begins with a capital letter due to technical limitations. ... OS/390 is an IBM operating system for the System/370 and System/390 IBM mainframe computers. ... VM is an early and influential virtual machine operating system from IBM, apparently the first true virtual machine system. ... VSE (Virtual Storage Extended) is an operating system for IBM mainframe computers. ... IBM has made several models of midrange computers over the years: the System/3, System/34, System/36, System/38, and finally AS/400 (recently rechristened the iSeries). ... OS/400 is an operating system used on IBMs line of AS/400 (now called iSeries) minicomputers. ... OS/400 is an operating system used on IBMs line of AS/400 (now called iSeries) minicomputers. ... For the district in Saga, Japan, see Fujitsu, Saga. ... Siemens AG (FWB:SIE, NYSE: SI) is the worlds largest electronics company. ... BS2000 is an operating system from Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme for mainframes. ... ... MPE is an early 1980s era business-oriented minicomputer operating system made by Hewlett-Packard. ... Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS), based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, United States, is a global provider of information technology services and solutions. ... This article might not be written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia entry. ... The punch card (or Hollerith card) is a recording medium for holding information for use by automated data processing machines. ... Binary-coded decimal (BCD) is, after character encodings, the most common way of encoding decimal digits in computing and in electronic systems. ... The 1950s were the decade that traditionally speaking, spanned the years 1950 through 1959. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969, inclusive. ...

Contents


History

EBCDIC was devised in 1963 and 1964 by IBM and was announced with the release of the IBM System/360 line of mainframe computers. It was created to extend the Binary-Coded Decimal that existed at the time. EBCDIC was developed separately from ASCII. EBCDIC is an 8-bit encoding, versus the 7-bit encoding of ASCII. 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (the link is to a full 1963 calendar). ... 1964 (MCMLXIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1964 calendar). ... Big Blue redirects here. ... System/360 Model 65 operators console, with register value lamps and toggle switches (middle of picture) and emergency pull switch (upper right). ... A Lego RCX Computer is an example of an embedded computer used to control mechanical devices. ... Binary-coded decimal (BCD) is, after character encodings, the most common way of encoding decimal digits in computing and in electronic systems. ... For other uses, see ASCII (disambiguation). ...


Interestingly, IBM was a chief proponent of the ASCII standardization committee. However, IBM did not have time to prepare ASCII peripherals (such as card punch machines) to ship with its System/360 computers, so the company settled on EBCDIC at the time. The System/360 became wildly successful, and thus so did EBCDIC.


All IBM mainframe peripherals and operating systems (except Linux on zSeries) support EBCDIC. Their operating systems also provide ASCII and Unicode modes for translating between different encodings. Translation can occur within the hardware peripheral or in the software as required by the application. Modern mainframes (such as IBM zSeries) include processor instructions, at the hardware level, to accelerate translation between character sets. A peripheral is a type of computer hardware that is added to a host computer in order to expand its abilities. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Linux on zSeries (or Linux on System z9) is the preferred collective term for the Linux operating system and GNU/Linux software compiled to run on IBM mainframes, especially zSeries servers. ... Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... Since December, 2001, IBM designates all its mainframes with the name eServer zSeries, with the e depicted in IBMs well-known red trademarked symbol. ...


At the time it was devised, EBCDIC made it relatively easy to enter data into a computer with punch cards. Since punch cards are never used on mainframes nowadays, EBCDIC is used in modern mainframes solely for backwards compatibility. It has no technical advantage over ASCII-based code pages such as the ISO-8859 series or Unicode. As with single-byte extended ASCII codepages, most EBCDIC codepages only allow up to 2 languages (English and one other language) to be used in a database or text file. ISO 8859, more formally ISO/IEC 8859, is a joint ISO and IEC standard for 8-bit character encodings for use by computers. ... Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... The term extended ASCII (or high ASCII) describes eight-bit or larger character encodings that include the standard seven-bit ASCII characters as well as others. ... A database is an organized collection of data. ...


Where true support for multilingual text is desired, a system supporting far more characters is needed. Generally this is done with some form of Unicode support. There is an EBCDIC Unicode Transformation Format called UTF-EBCDIC proposed by the Unicode consortium, but it is not intended to be used in open interchange environments, and even on EBCDIC-based systems, it is almost never used. IBM mainframes support UTF-16, but they do not support UTF-EBCDIC natively. In computing, Unicode is the international standard whose goal is to provide the means to encode the text of every document people want to store in computers. ... UTF-EBCDIC is an encoding of Unicode that is meant to be EBCDIC friendly so that some older EBCDIC applications can handle some Unicode data. ... In computing, UTF-16 is a 16-bit Unicode Transformation Format, a character encoding form that provides a way to represent a series of abstract characters from Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 as a series of 16-bit words suitable for storage or transmission via data networks. ...


Technical details

EBCDIC code pages and ASCII-based code pages are incompatible with each other. Since computers only understand numbers, these codepages assign a character to these numbers. The same byte values are interpreted as different characters depending on the codepage used. Data stored in EBCDIC require a code page conversion before the text can be viewed on ASCII based machines, like a personal computer.


A single EBCDIC byte occupies eight bits, which are divided in two halves or nibbles. The first four bits is called the zone and represent the category of the character, whereas the last four bits is called the digit and identify the specific character. A nibble (or less commonly, nybble) is the computing term for the aggregation of four bits, or half an octet (an octet being an 8-bit byte). ...


There is a nice correspondence between hexadecimal character codes and punch card codes for EBCDIC. This was an important feature at the time the EBCDIC scheme was created. An IBM card punch could make a 12-row punch card with up to 2 punches per column, the first punch somewhere in the first 3 rows (called the zone) and the second punch somewhere in the last 9 rows (called the number). The zone could thus be considered a value from 0 to 3, and the number a value from 0 to 9, where 0 means no punch, and non-zero means the corresponding row was punched. The initial version of EBCDIC was just (0xf-zone)<<4+number and defined only the lower-left 10x4 part of the table shown below (the zone was apparently reversed so the letters would at least be in alphabetic order). In mathematics and computer science, base-16, hexadecimal, or simply hex, is a numeral system with a radix or base of 16 usually written using the symbols 0–9 and A–F or a–f. ...


There are a number of different versions of EBCDIC, customized for different countries. Some East Asian countries use a double byte extension of EBCDIC to allow display of Chinese, Japanese and Korean scripts for their mainframes. In the double byte extension of EBCDIC, there are shift codes [0x0E,0x0F] to shift between the single byte and double byte modes.


IBM typically names all of its code pages with a number called a CCSID (Coded Character Set IDentifier). It is important to note that the same CCSID can have different character positions in a codepage. For example, the newline character can be a different byte value in z/OS UNIX System Services versus the other EBCDIC based operating systems. This becomes an issue when transferring EBCDIC based text data between machines. z/OS Welcome Screen seen through a terminal emulator The title of this article begins with a capital letter due to technical limitations. ... Unix System Services (USS) is a component of z/OS. USS is an adequate, certified Unix implementation (XPG4 UNIX 95). ...


Codepage layout

This is CCSID 500, a variant of EBCDIC. Characters 0x00–3F and 0xFF are controls, 0x40 is space, 0x41 is no-break space, 0xCA is soft hyphen. In computing, a control character or non-printing character, is a code point (a number) in a character set that does not in itself represent a written symbol. ... A space is a punctuation convention for providing interword separation in some scripts, including the Latin, Cyrillic, and Arabic. ... In computing, a nonbreaking space (NBSP) is a special space character that prevents an automatic line break (line wrap) at its position. ... A hyphen ( - ) is a punctuation mark. ...

-0 -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 -8 -9 -A -B -C -D -E -F
4-   â ä à á ã å ç ñ [ . < ( +  !
5- & é ê ë è í î ï ì ß ] $ * )  ; ^
6- - / Â Ä À Á Ã Å Ç Ñ ¦ , % _ >  ?
7- ø É Ê Ë È Í Î Ï Ì `  : # @ ' = "
8- Ø a b c d e f g h i «   » ð ý þ ±
9- ° j k l m n o p q r ª º æ ¸ Æ ¤
A- µ ~ s t u v w x y z ¡ ¿ Ð Ý Þ ®
B- ¢ £ ¥ · © § ¼ ½ ¾ ¬ | ¯ ¨ ´ ×
C- { A B C D E F G H I ­ ô ö ò ó õ
D- } J K L M N O P Q R ¹ û ü ù ú ÿ
E- ÷ S T U V W X Y Z ² Ô Ö Ò Ó Õ
F- 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ³ Û Ü Ù Ú

Trivia

Famed open source software advocate and renowned hacker Eric S. Raymond writes in his Jargon File that EBCDIC was almost universally loathed by early hackers and programmers because of its multitude of different versions, none of which resembled the other versions, and that IBM produced it in direct competition with the already-established ASCII. ... Eric S. Raymond Eric Steven Raymond (born December 4, 1957), often referred to as ESR, is the author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar and the present maintainer of the Jargon File (also known as The New Hackers Dictionary). Though the Jargon File established his original reputation within hacker... The Jargon File is a glossary of hacker slang. ... For other uses, see ASCII (disambiguation). ...


See also

List of EBCDIC-codepages with Latin-1-charset 1st number ( e. ... Codepage 037 is an EBCDIC-codepage with full Latin-1-charset. ... Codepage 285 is an EBCDIC-codepage with full Latin-1-charset. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
ASCII and EBCDIC compared - Dynamoo.com (1132 words)
EBCDIC uses the full 8 bits available to it, so parity checking cannot be used on an 8 bit system.
There are four main blocks in the EBCDIC code page: 0000 0000 to 0011 1111 is reserved for control characters; 0100 0000 to 0111 1111 are for punctuation; 1000 0000 to 1011 1111 for lowercase characters and 1100 0000 to 1111 1111 for uppercase characters and numbers.
EBCDIC also has dozens of different variants, some of which are essentially incompatible with other variants of EBCDIC.
What is EBCDIC? (317 words)
EBCDIC, Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code, was developed in 1963 by IBM as an extension to the older Binary Coded Decimal (BCD) standard.
Each EBCDIC variant is known as a codepage, identified by its Coded Character Set Identifier, or CCSID.
EBCDIC codepages have been created for a number of major writing scripts, including such complex ones as Chinese, Korean and Japanese.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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