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Proposals for 10646/Unicode in MIME

1993-12-15 14:33:16
Immediately after this mailing I will be posting two documents written by
myself and Mark Davis (also of Taligent, as well as president of the
Unicode Consortium) proposing techniques for dealing with the ISO
10646/Unicode character set in MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions,
RFC 1521 and 1522).

These two proposals are drafts for purposes of discussion, not intended yet
for any standards or public review process (although that is the ultimate
intent). They were initially sent to a small group of private reviewers for
comments. I am now sending them to the ietf-822 and Unicode Core discussion
groups for more public discussion, review, and comment.

Here is some explanatory text from the introduction of both documents:

ISO/IEC 10646-1:1993(E) and the Unicode Standard, version 1.1,
jointly define a 16 bit character set (hereafter referred to as BMP,
the Basic Multilingual Plane of 10646) which encompasses most of the
world's writing systems. However, Internet mail (STD 11, RFC 822)
currently supports only 7-bit US ASCII as a character set. MIME (RFC
1521 and RFC 1522) extends Internet mail to support different media
types and character sets, and thus could support BMP in mail
messages. As defined, however, MIME would only support encoding of
BMP in a way unintelligible to recipients who do not have MIME or BMP
support on their system. Indeed, the current version of RFC 1521 does
not list BMP as a supported character set at all.

One document deals with general issues of encoding 10646/Unicode in MIME,
and the other proposes a new transformation format of 10646/Unicode, called
UTF-7, that is 7-bit mail safe.

Please feel free to direct comments either directly to myself and/or Mark
Davis (mark_davis(_at_)taligent(_dot_)com), or to either of the two mailing 
lists for
further discussion. I hope you can find the time to review the documents
and send your comments. Thank you.

David Goldsmith
Taligent, Inc.
10201 N. DeAnza Blvd.
Cupertino, CA  95014-2233
(408) 777-5225

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