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SubjectRe: OT: character encodings (was: Linux 2.6.20-rc4)
On Mon, Jan 08, 2007 at 02:03:37AM +0100, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 08, 2007 at 01:38:57AM +0100, Willy Tarreau wrote:
> > On Mon, Jan 08, 2007 at 12:37:50AM +0100, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> > > On Sun, Jan 07, 2007 at 09:48:34PM +0100, Willy Tarreau wrote:
> > > > On Sun, Jan 07, 2007 at 08:11:38PM +0100, Jan Engelhardt wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > On Jan 7 2007 17:06, Russell King wrote:
> > > > > >On Mon, Jan 08, 2007 at 12:29:05AM +0800, David Woodhouse wrote:
> > > > > >
> > > > > >$ git log | head -n 1000 | tail -n 200 > o
> > > > > >$ file -i o
> > > > > >o: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> > > > > >$ git log | head -n 1000 | tail -n 300 > o
> > > > > >$ file -i o
> > > > > >o: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> > > > > >$ git log | head -n 1000 | tail -n 400 > o
> > > > > >$ file -i o
> > > > > >o: text/plain; charset=utf-8
> > > > >
> > > > > I am inclined to say that "file" does not count, because it tries to guess an
> > > > > ambiguous mapping from bytes to character set. Even more, file should be
> > > > > _unable at all_ to distinguish an iso-8859-1 from an iso-8859-2 (or worse: 15)
> > > > > file. This program is soo... forget it, it's not an argument. It works well for
> > > > > headerful files, but text files don't really contain one. The next best thing
> > > > > would be html, with a proper <meta http-equiv=Content> tag.
> > > >
> > > > The stupidity from the start up with those character sets is that they
> > > > consider that a whole file is written with a given set. In fact, the
> > > > charset should apply to characters themselves. At least, the
> > > > quoted-printable, non-human friendly, encoding was the least stupid.
> > >
> > > I doubt doing this would really be worth the effort.
> > >
> > > In the 21st century, people should simply use UTF-8.
> > >
> > > > Now that UTF8 comes everywhere, everyone receives tons of mangled mails,
> > > > and even mailers which correctly support UTF8 and use it by default manage
> > > > to shoot themselves in the foot when they reply to, or forward a mail. The
> > > > system is completely broken because limited by design, and we have to learn
> > > > to live with this brokenness.
> > >
> > > Only if MUAs have broken charset support or don't set a correct
> > > "charset" header in the mails they are sending.
> > >
> > > If some software still can't handle UTF-8 correctly more than 10 years
> > > after it was introduced, that's not a brokenness you can blame on UTF-8.
> >
> > I'm not blaming UTF-8 per se, but people who still believe in encoding
> > *whole documents*. Copy-paste, text insertion, git output, etc... everything
> > has a good reason not to be in the same encoding as what your MUA believes.
>
> How would you do this technically in a way that it's significantely
> easier than simply finishing the UTF=8 transition?

In how many decades do you think the transition will be finished ?

> > If major MUAs still have problems with UTF-8 10 years after it was introduced,
> > it's clearly the proof of a flaw in the initial design. And I'm not even
> > discussing the stupidity which requires that you read a whole text to get
> > its number of characters !
>
> The only major MUA not supporting UTF-8 is Eudora.
>
> And if you are talking about buggy old pine, in the latest development
> version [1] it does not only become open source, it also got some
> working Unicode support.

No, I'm not speaking about "not supporting", but "having problems". Every
one of us has already received mails from Thunderbird, Outlook, Notes, etc...
with erroneously encoded characters because of this :

- an UTF8 MUA sends a mail to a non-UTF8 aware one.

- this last one only sees double chars. When it wants to forward the mail
to someone else, it keeps the chars verbatim, and sets the encoding type
to its own, something like iso8859-1 for instance.

- the final MUA, which is UTF8-aware, is very happy to detect lots of UTF8
combinations in the forwarded mail and decides that everything in it is
UTF8, then you get lots of chars mangled in the mail, in the middle of
UTF8 combinations. Then, this crappy mail can be forwarded as long as
you want between UTF8 MUAs, they will all apply heuristics and to the
wrong thing : consider the *whole* document with *one* type.

What I find even funnier is when, for no apparent reason, the same MUA is used
on both ends and the contents get mangled because the sender copies a portion
of text from somewhere else.

Anyway, I don't want to follow up on this thread, it's *highly* off-topic here.

Cheers,
Willy

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