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Because of the large number of type fonts required to support the IBM SELECTRIC® Composer program, it would not have been economical to manufacture separate type elements for each country in which the machine would be marketed. Also, because the total of the standard alphanumeric characters and the typical basic language requirements for all countries is much greater than could possibly be fitted on the Composer's 88-position type element, special Composer fonts had to be developed for various language group classifications. This paper describes the SELECTRIC Composer's development from a single-language system to a multilingual concept and details the problems involved in achieving compatibility, and thus type font interchangeability.
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