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Re: Character sets

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 22, 2002, 20:11
En réponse à "David G. Durand" <dgd@...>:

> > This problem isn't going to be solved by everyone changing their > software. People don't like to change their mail programs, and > suggestions that they should do so, just irritate them. There are > many tradeoffs of computer platform interface, and character encoding > in such a choice, and one person's best solution may be another's > worst solution. >
Don't forget the people who DON'T use a mail program at all. Personally, I read my mail with a special webmail site made by my mail provider. It has most functions of a normal mail client (or at least the functions I find useful :), i.e. address book, filters, signatures, etc...), is quite reliable (I never had problems of security with it, and it was down only once in the two years I've been using it. As a contrast, I've tried to use Outlook to read my email from the same address, and it works only every three days...) and accessible from any computer with an Internet connection, whatever OS it uses. And it manages to avoid the disadvantages of other web-based e-mail like Yahoo or Hotmail (that I've learned to know from having also a Hotmal account) by strictly limiting the allowed mail format to MIME and the font encoding to Latin-1 (it reads HTML as simple text with overt tags, or even not at all, still providing for a way of reading the e-mail, only if specifically asked for. Quite a good filtering in itself, and pretty immune to viruses), and also by not communicating the address to commercial companies. I've NEVER received any spam on this e-mail address. To this I have to add that the amount of memory given for mail is of 15Mb. I've never reached half of it, even though I keep hundreds of mails in other boxes and received quite a few times more then 500 mails at once. As a whole, I would thus never change my way of reading e-mail. The disadvantage of this is that I have no control on what encoding I can read. It's a small price to pay compared to its flexibility. So as a rule of thumb, let's restrict ourselves to 7-bit ASCII as much as possible, by making for instance special transcriptions for mail (after all, that's what Greek speakers do on a daily basis), use Latin-1 as little as possible, only when we feel it's necessary (I tend to do it automatically when I write French, sorry :( ), and with explanations for the signs that may not pass correctly. Ban Unicode, UTF-8 and other fancy encodings. There will always be people at the other end who cannot receive them corectly. If you really want to use those, make a webpage and post the URL. It's not as difficult as you think (and I speak of experience :)) ). And I'm sorry for this long e-mail that basically added only very little to what David had already stated. Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.


Boudewijn Rempt <boud@...>The disappeared conlang (and: Character sets)
BP Jonsson <bpj@...>The disappeared conlang (and: Character sets)