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Re: Accept-Charset support

From: Jonathan Rosenne <rosenne@NetVision.net.il>
Date: Sun, 08 Dec 1996 00:27:46 +0200
Message-Id: <>
To: Drazen.Kacar@public.srce.hr (Drazen Kacar)
Cc: kweide@tezcat.com (Klaus Weide), masinter@parc.xerox.com, Chris.Lilley@sophia.inria.fr, www-international@w3.org
At 20:17 07/12/96 +0100, Drazen Kacar wrote:
>Klaus Weide wrote:
>> On Sat, 7 Dec 1996, Jonathan Rosenne wrote:
>> > The best solution to the problem raised is via "accept-language". It can be
>> > reasonably assumed that if my preferred languages include French I can
>> > display the French characters. 
>No, it can't. You probably don't have Latin 2 fonts installed. If I happen
>to visit you and you let me use your browser, I'll set accept-language to
>hr. But there still won't be Latin 2 fonts. I don't think it would
>be reasonable to expect I'll carry them in my pocket. :)

When you set the accept language to hr, you could also set the fonts to
whatever is needed to show Serbo-Kroat in the Latin script.

>> Well that is what I don't like - "it can be reasonably assumed" means
>> guessing is involved.  Ideally Acccept-Language should express what
>> human language I want, no more and no less.  There is no good reason
>> why I shouldn't be able to express "I want that text in Russian, but
>> have only Latin2 characters".

Yes there is - it is not a common or regular way to see Russian, and the
standards need to cater first and foremost for the common and regular and
only secondly to special needs such as those. And I am not sure that this
special need is appropriate for standardization at all.

It is hardly a wild guess that if the language is French the characters to
be used include the French characters. 

>Even more than that. I can read Cyrillic when I have to, but it's a hard
>going. I'm not sure I can read handwriting at all. But, my understanding
>of Serbian is q=1.0 if written in Latin alphabet. The official alphabet
>there is Cyrillic and it's reasonable to expect the pages will use it.
>I *want* it converted to Latin by my browser, even if I have fonts around.
>Why should I have those fonts? To write a word or two and put it in
>headings on some pages. You know, tho c00l stuff. :)

The case of Serbo-Kroat is unique. It can be handled by the browser through
a special mapping table or applet that maps Cyrillic UCS codes to Latin.
Someone in Greece may desire a similar mapping to Greek. This is an
implementation issue and not a matter for standards (except to standardize
the mapping). In any case, it does not require any involvement of the
server, which should still provide Cyrillic text.

>> There may be servers that provide 
>> transcriptions, and maybe that will be done automatically in the future.
>XPG4, I believe, describes such routines for the OS.

I general, I don't think it can be done in a useful way. I would like to see
it done from English to Cyrillic before I change my mind. 


Jonathan Rosenne
JR Consulting
P O Box 33641, Tel Aviv, Israel
Phone: +972 50 246 522 Fax: +972 9 956 7353
Received on Saturday, 7 December 1996 17:28:21 UTC

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