The charset parameter is mandatory in the MIME content-type
attribute. However, such a parameter is not mandatory in
Unix or Linux. This is causing more and more problems, when
people have a mixture of files with different charsets,
which you easily get when you download files from the
Internet or receive them via e-mail.
Would it be possible to get the people responsible for the
file systems in Unix and Linux to add a mandatory charset
attribute to all text files? Best is probably to add a
generalized property list to files, so that also other
properties than charset can be added in the future.
The advantage would be that programs which transport files
across the Internet, such as e-mail, ftp and http, would
more often use the correct charset and not munge the files
by giving then an incorrect charset. The commonly occuring
problem with incorrect charset would be reduced. Also local
problems such as text editors would benefit from knowing
the charset of a file.
(Mac OS earlier had a very good feature, you could add to
every file a property list called the "resource fork").
This still works in Mac OS X, but is less and less often
used, since Unix, on which Mac OS X is based, does not have
this facility. In Mac OS X the resource fork is stored in a
separate file whose file name starts with ".", in the same
directory as the file described).
Jacob Palme <jpalme(_at_)dsv(_dot_)su(_dot_)se> (Stockholm University and KTH)
for more info see URL: http://www.dsv.su.se/jpalme/