Running bibtexu -v (from TeX Live bundle) yields the message

This is BibTeXu: a UTF-8 Big BibTeX version 0.99d
Implementation:  Microsoft(R) C/C++ for Win32
Release version: 3.71 (18 mar 2013)

however I don't see any other manifestation that bibtexu could be really unicode-aware software. Moreover, when I run bibtexu on an aux file, it reports using 8-bit csf file:

The 8-bit codepage and sorting file: 88591lat.csf

and proceeds so slowly that I never could reach a finish. So my question: What is bibtexu in fact?

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    My experience is that bibtexu is undocumented, unsupported, buggy and really not to be recommended. I would strongly advise avoiding it: that's not really an answer! – Joseph Wright Apr 3 '14 at 7:03
  • 1
    If you want to know what it is, there's some information here. – ChrisS Apr 3 '14 at 7:04
  • Thank you, @JosephWright. This is also my opinion. Just, I was contacted by a user of my package GOST who wrote that it fails with bibtexu. By the way, bibtexu is excluded from MikTeX. Isn't worth to exclude it also from TL? – Igor Kotelnikov Apr 3 '14 at 7:30
  • I think BibTeXU revived in TeX Live 2019 pretest. It seems that BibTeXu never worked since the beginning of TL integration (2010), but the first and the last "official" release by Yannis (in both sources and binaries format, 2009) worked; it could have been a failure in TL integration. – Hironobu YAMASHITA Mar 27 at 1:08

The message about the .csf file is spurious. The documentation is scanty and the bugs are probably many. However, up to a certain extent it works.

I found a couple of Russian books with the help of Google books, that allows to export BibTeX data for the book.

  title={О правѣ наказанія: Рѣчь, произнесенная в торжественном собраніи Демидовскаго лицея 29 ноября, 1859 года},
  author={Чебышев-Дмитриев, А.},
  title={Теорія сравненій},
  author={Чебышев, П.Л.},
  publisher={В тип. Императорской Академіи Наук}



The yat must be defined because it isn't included in the T2A encoding. This is the .bbl file built by BibTeXU:


П.Л. Чебышев.
\newblock {\em Теорія сравненій}.
\newblock В тип. Императорской Академіи Наук,

А. Чебышев-Дмитриев.
\newblock {\em О правѣ наказанія: Рѣчь,
  произнесенная в торжественном собраніи
  Демидовскаго лицея 29 ноября, 1859 года}.
\newblock Фальк, 1859.


enter image description here

Can I recommend it? No, of course. Use biblatex if you can.

There is a thread on the TeX Live list, started with this message by Joseph Wright; here's the answer by Karl Berry:

No, it is an independent project. bibtex8 still exists (and is still in TL). In fact, Peter put in yeoman efforts to update bibtex, bibtex8, bibtexu so that they had more or less the same behavior wrt memory allocation, etc.

bibtexu is/was a project by Yannis (and a student or two) to use the ICU library with BibTeX. Peter also put in the massive efforts needed to make this work in the TL build system and have bibtexu and xetex use the same ICU library

I have never seen any documentation or other details about bibtexu. I asked Yannis about it a couple days ago; no response as of yet.

I believe it's a dead project, unfortunately.

  • 1
    On my comp (Win7, TL 2013) bibtexu hangs. I've never seen it finished. – Igor Kotelnikov Apr 3 '14 at 9:25
  • 1
    @IgorKotelnikov I know nothing about Win, sorry. – egreg Apr 3 '14 at 9:29

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