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Re: Charset support (was: Accept-Charset support)

From: Francois Yergeau <yergeau@alis.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 1996 11:13:48 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: www-international@w3.org
À 23:06 12-12-96 -0600, Klaus Weide a écrit :
>At least the Lynx code has tried to take that statement seriously, for
>display of text without an explicit charset.

Just to make things clear, does that mean that Lynx always defaults to
Latin-1, going through hoops (mapping, transliteration, etc.) to achieve
that if necessary?  Or that it can be made to assume that default, but
normally defaults to the terminal's own code page?

>> Or do you mean the statement that one can assume that all HTTP clients
>> support ISO 8859-1?  Again, this is patently false; try Lynx on a
>> non-Latin-1 terminal.
>Lynx definitely supports ISO 8859-1, whether a Latin-1 terminal is in
>use or not.

Great, I didn't know that.  Apologies for slandering this venerable pillar
of the Web.  Doesn't help, though, with all those other browsers that depend
exclusively on the platform's code page, with no support for Latin-1 on
non-Western systems.  The assumption of *universal* support for Latin-1 in
HTTP/1.1 is still false, despite the nice efforts of browsers like Lynx.
And the implicit obligation of Latin-1 support it creates is still
unjustified.  Why should a minimal browser on a Russian DOS box be forced to
go through hoops to support 8859-1, when a German or Spanish or American
browser is not required to support 8859-5?  The functionning of the protocol
doesn't require Latin-1, only ASCII.

>(resulting from recent responses on this list) that for UTF-8 support,
>GUI browsers will also have to resort to replacement representations
>(unless they _really_ have access to a set of glyphs for the full BMP
>repertoire), so they will become more like Lynx<G>.

It would be foolish to require support for the whole Unicode repertoire from
any piece of software.  Supporting UTF-8 should mean soemthing like decode
it properly, don't mistake it for something else, and try your best to
display/process/whatever your software does.

>> The argument of being consistent with a false statement about a fictitious,
>> universally disregarded default seems rather weak to me.
>Not universally.

I regretted that word as soon as I had pressed the Send key.  Of course it
is not universally disregarded, for lots of people it is the appropriate
default.  But far from everyone.

François Yergeau <yergeau@alis.com>
Alis Technologies Inc., Montréal
Tél : +1 (514) 747-2547
Fax : +1 (514) 747-2561
Received on Friday, 13 December 1996 11:19:28 UTC

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