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Re: Unregistered charset values in HTTP 1.1, the ISO-8859-* values

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@parc.xerox.com>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 1996 22:14:29 PDT
To: ojarnef@admin.kth.se
Cc: iesg@ietf.org, http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com, ojarnef@admin.kth.se
Message-Id: <96Jul9.221429pdt."2757"@golden.parc.xerox.com>
X-Mailing-List: <http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com> archive/latest/1069
In draft-ietf-http-v11-spec-05.txt is said:

> 3.4 Character Sets

> Although HTTP allows an arbitrary token to be used as a charset value,
> any token that has a predefined value within the IANA Character Set
> registry MUST represent the character set defined by that registry.

and Olle presented a reading of this that makes it seem like HTTP is
permitting unregistered charset values. Frankly, I don't think anyone
cares much what this says; it was the case that the MIME documents
were in flux. Clearly, using non-standard charset values is

> 2) Preferred MIME names for ISO-8859 character sets

> The HTTP 1.1 draft doesn't explicitly recommend the use
> of any particular subset of the more than 200 character
> sets registered with IANA. I suppose that this decision
> (which I don't believe is wise) is the result of earlier
> WG discussions, which I unfortunately have missed.

There have been innumerable discussions on the issues of charset
names, and no desire in the HTTP working group to actually prevent
anyone from using any charset they want if properly labelled (the
subject of the last heated debate.) There's no simple reason why HTTP
itself should restrict itself to some charset names over others since
the client can send Accept-Charset to identify the charset values it's
willing to deal with. This is a significantly different situation than
mail, which is sent preemptively without direct communication.

However, most of the comments here do not change the HTTP
specification, but only the recommendations for what should happen to
the IANA registration. As such, I would assume that the charset
registration issues could merged with the consideration of
draft-freed-charset-reg-00.txt as BCP, while the HTTP/1.1 spec could
be processed.

The intent was not to establish a monopoly on "preferred MIME names",
and not to reinterpret any of the charset registrations, but just to
pick the short names that are currently in use in HTTP.
Received on Tuesday, 9 July 1996 22:17:58 UTC

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