Re: utf-7

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Wed May 26 1999 - 13:43:05 EDT

Daniel McQullen asked:

> Markus Kuhn wrote "...both quoted-printable and utf-7 have become
> several orders of magnitude faster completely obsolete than the
> pessimists in the MIME committee believed would be possible. Internet
> email is 8-bit transparent today and both quoted-printable and utf-7
> are obsolete."
> Are there procedures that Unicode has in place to officially recognize
> the obsolescence of encodings such as utf-7? Or will remain a seldom
> used but still documented and officially sanctioned standard?

There is no Unicode Consortium procedure to officially recognize
the obsolescence of UTF-7. The way we handle such things is to
stop documenting them in our standard. UTF-7 was explained in detail
in the Unicode Standard, Version 2.0, but that section has been
dropped from the forthcoming Unicode Standard, Version 3.0.

However, as long as the relevant RFC for UTF-7 is available, and
mail protocols and implementations refer to it, UTF-7 will not
be obsolete, per se. It is, however, obsolescent, in that we are
not encouraging new uses of it and hope that old ones will gradually
be replaced by UTF-8 when possible.

--Ken Whistler, Technical Director, Unicode, Inc.

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