EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code ) (pronounced either "ehb-suh-dik" or "ehb-kuh-dik") is a binary code for alphabetic and numeric characters that IBM developed for its larger operating systems. It is the code for text files that is used in IBM's OS/390 operating system for its S/390 servers and that thousands of corporations use for their legacy applications and databases. In an EBCDIC file, each alphabetic or numeric character is represented with an 8-bit binary number (a string of eight 0's or 1's). 256 possible characters (letters of the alphabet, numerals, and special characters) are defined.
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IBM's PC and workstation operating systems do not use IBM's proprietary EBCDIC. Instead, they use the industry standard code for text, ASCII. Conversion programs allow different operating systems to change a file from one code to another.
Also see Unicode.