Re: 8859-1, 8859-15, 1252 and Euro

From: Frank da Cruz (
Date: Thu Feb 10 2000 - 11:40:15 EST

Erik van der Poel wrote:

> There is a boundary between mainframes and the Internet. There is a
> gateway at that boundary. The gateway should take care of the octets in
> the C1 range, so that the big mainframe doesn't choke on the data
> produced by the little PC.
How can any kind of gateway possibly know what the intention of a particular
octet is? Maybe it *is* a C1 control. Maybe a GIF file or executable
program is being transferred across the connection. Users make creative
uses of their connections; you can't anticipate all of them, nor "parse" all
of the data that goes across a connection.

> On Unix, these C1 octets can be mapped to appropriate glyph codes, if
> the user has installed some of the more modern X fonts, such as
> *-iso10646-1.
But the user is most likely viewing these messages through xterm, which is
an ANSI X3.64 and ISO 6429 compliant terminal emulator, in which C1 codes
are controls. You can't just "map" them to graphics.

The user might also be viewing the message through an actual terminal or
terminal emulator that has a serial or Telnet or Rlogin connection to Unix.
The worldwide email system must not assume that we are all using a
Windows-based Web browser to read our email.

> The Unix apps are still somewhat behind perhaps...
Let us say instead that they are in conformance with standards. Standards
that we all agreed to; standards that are still in effect; standards that
have not been replaced by any new standard which condones the use of the C1
positions for graphic characters in data interchange applications, with the
singular exception of MIME, which is not a standard at all, but rather the
lack of one: blanket permission for anybody to do whatever they want --
not the best way to design a worldwide system of communication.

> We are planning to make some changes to
> Unix Mozilla 5.0 to deal with these windows-1252 characters ...
Please don't encourage the use of PC code pages on the Internet.

> (and UTF-8 too of course).
Yes, bravo!

- Frank

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