A challenge to the ASCII proponents.

Martin v. Löwis martin at v.loewis.de
Sun Jul 20 23:04:41 CEST 2003

Alan Kennedy <alanmk at hotmail.com> writes:

> 2. The only other person who managed it, without using markup, was
> Martin von Loewis, who is so good at this stuff that he confidently
> makes statements like "what I did was right: it was Google that got it
> wrong". Martin used the UTF-8 character set, i.e. a non-ASCII,
> non-7-bit-clean character set, to achieve this. Although I'm sure
> Martin could have managed it with UTF-7 as well.

It wasn't that hard to do: I only had to ask my newsreader to sent the
message as UTF-8. If my newsreader had chosen a
content-transfer-encoding of base64 or quoted-printable, it even would
have been 7-bit clean.

> 3. If anybody else was willing to give it a try, they don't seem to
> have had enough confidence in their knowledge of encodings, MIME,
> transports, NNTP, etc, etc, to have actually hit the "send" button, in
> case it didn't work. Which doesn't bode well for the average person in
> the street: if the technology specialists in this newsgroup don't feel
> in command of the issue, what hope for everyone else?

It's a matter of time. Web browsers are ahead of all other software,
here, as they first hit the problem of displaying content in a wide
variety of languages. Over time, most email agents and news readers
will catch up, getting it right without bothering the user.

It is not that MIME is more complicated than XML, on the contrary. 
It is just that authors of MIME software, for some reason, don't
care that much about these issues.


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