Re: UTF-8 in Netscape

From: Markus G. Kuhn (
Date: Wed Jul 16 1997 - 22:04:55 EDT

David Goldsmith wrote on 1997-07-17 00:25 UTC:
> >It is a good point. I will consider adding UTF-8 for mail encoding
> >instead of using UTF-7
> There are still lots of 7-bit mail systems out there.

Where? I haven't seen one for many months, and they disappear rather
quickly these days ...

> UTF-7 can be sent with the 7BIT c-t-e, like ISO-2022. UTF-8
> has to be sent with 8BIT, quoted-printable, or base64. Is there a problem
> in supporting both options?

Netscape 3.0 for Unix has in the Options|Mail and News Preferences|Compose
menue a section

  When composing Mail and News Messages

  Send and Post: X Allow 8-bit _ MIME Compliant (Quoted Printable)

with the default on "Allow 8-bit". I would suggest, in case this switch
is set to allow 8-bit and the outgoing message contains any character
> U+00FF, then definitely use UTF-8 with 8-bit encoding.

If the MIME Compliant option is selected, then if there are > U+00FF
characters in the message, then use UTF-8 in the quoted-printable encoding.

If there should be *really* a high demand for UTF-7 from the customer base,
then you can easily add a third menu item

                                  _ MIME Compliant (UTF-7 for Unicode)

but I doubt that anyone will really care. UTF-8 is the recommended
default encoding for the future of the Internet, so lets worry about
alternatives only if it turns out that we *really* need it.

Using UTF-8 in quoted-printable or base64 encodings has the big advantage
over UTF-7, that modern ESMTP agents can automatically convert between
quoted printable and 8-bit, but they know nothing about UTF-7, and
this way, UTF-7 somehow falls out of the concept.


Markus G. Kuhn, Computer Science grad student, Purdue
University, Indiana, USA -- email:

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