Language tags in IPP (was: Re: [Suppress-Script] Initial list of 300 languages)

Mark Crispin mrc at CAC.Washington.EDU
Mon Mar 13 21:01:14 CET 2006

On Mon, 13 Mar 2006, Ned Freed wrote:
> Let me talk about email. Email isn't an end to
> end protocol and hence has no ability to negotiate anything on the fly. There
> are many cases where preferred language information is available but charset
> information is not. Finally, "just use UTF-8" is an absolute and complete
> nonstarter for a huge number of people, our wishes to the contrary
> notwithstanding. (This is gradually changing, but Unicode ubiquity is still a
> very long way away.)

Hi Ned, I think that email has progressed somewhat further than you think.

Pine is about as traditional an MUA as you can get.  It is not (yet) 
capable of sending/displaying messages in UTF-8 (we're working on that for 
the next version as I speak), but for a few versions now it has been 
capable of receiving messages in UTF-8 and translating them to the user's 
character set.

Put another way: Pine currently requires me to set my charset to 
ISO-2022-JP in order to read/compose Japanese language messages. 
However, if someone sends me a Japanese language message in UTF-8, Pine 
will convert it to its internal representation (EUC-JP on UNIX, Shift-JIS 
on Windows).  Similarly, if someone sends me a Chinese language message in 
UTF-8, large parts will be readable -- depending upon how many codepoints 
are in common with JIS.

The same holds true for the other charsets Pine knows about, which are 
most (if not all) the charsets commonly used in email today.

Nevertheless, this was recognized as an interim step.  It was basically 
intended to make Pine not be in the way of someone else using UTF-8, even 
if Pine is still forced to use legacy charsets.

What's more, the next version will be UTF-8 capable.

-- Mark --
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote.

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