Re: Terminals, E-Mail, and non-standard encodings (was: CP1252 under UNIX)

From: Frank da Cruz (
Date: Mon Apr 03 2000 - 11:06:11 EDT

Otto Stolz wrote:

> Obeying al rules means that the combination of E-Mail client and operating
> system must make sure that the only control characters sent to the terminal
> are really meant to control the terminal...
> ...
> So, the possible harm C1 characters can do to a terminal session is not
> a valid argument against CP-1252-encoded messages.
Not to prolong this discussion, but... yes it is! :-) Let us say a standard
is analogous to a law. It is the responsibility of every citizen not to
break the law. It is not the responsibility of every citizen to wear a
bullet-proof vest, even if it might be a good idea.

I agree that it would be a good idea for email clients to be defensive, This
is a case of "be liberal in what you accept". But the standard ones are
not, e.g. the simple "mail" program that comes with every Unix distribution.

However, sending private code pages or document formats in email without
prior agreement is not a case of "be conservative in what you send".

For maximum usefulness of the Internet, both principles must be respected.

> Am 2000-03-31 um 08:35 h PST hat Frank da Cruz geschrieben:
> > IBM has done an excellent job of keeping their private EBCDIC code pages
> > private, and converting them to standard character sets for interchange,
> > and for that matter even publishing official mappings, so ISVs don't have
> > to guess and come up with incompatible ones.
> Actually, IBM's users' groups, such as SHARE Europe (formerly SEAS) had to
> exert much pressure to get IBM there.
> ...
> I think, only market demand (or call it pressure of users' organizations)
> will eventually cause vendors to comply with character-encoding standards.
Yes, it's true, IBM needed encouragement, just as other software makers,
including ISVs, now also need encouragement.

- Frank

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