ietf-822
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Re: Charset mandatory in unix/linux

2006-03-13 08:26:47

On Sun, 12 Mar 2006, Jacob Palme wrote:

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.

Unix doesn't really support fine-grained switching between locales, and
therefore it doesn't have good support for switching between charsets
either. Files are untyped, and the way they are treated depends on
context. The context is principally defined by the program the file is fed
to, but the interpretation can also be changed by the locale settings in
the environment. Switching locales within a program is not well supported.
The problem is bigger than charsets: for example, the Unix locale API also
doesn't have good support for manipulating dates in multiple timezones.

So if you are going to solve your problem, you'll have to re-do the locale
API as well as defining how to use extended attributes to store charset
information. This is a problem for POSIX not the IETF.

Tony.
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