[nSLUG] Re: Add yourself to the nSLUG member blogs wiki page

Jeff Warnica jeff at coherentnetworksolutions.com
Fri Jan 12 17:12:59 AST 2007

Quoting Mike <mspencer at tallships.ca>:

> Well, I have two questions that derive from my own cranky
> ideosyncrasies:
>   Q1:  Why do all wiki sites use charset=UTF8, either in a <meta... tag or
>        in an HTTP header?  Seems to be the case even when the venue is
>        an exclusively English language one. Even for the European
>        languages most commonly read by native English speakers,
>        ISO-8859-1 suffices.
>        Seems to me similar to the urban yuppie who drives a Unimog
>        with fore & aft winches and PTOs.

Except that it doesn't suffice. The State Of The Word today is that  
ASCII, ISO-8859, and the Windows code pages are somewhat mutually  
incomparable. The features that "ASCII" supports are broken, not  
mentioning at all the perfectly reasonable characters that it doesn't  
support, such as €.

Europeans, and even UKians can quite innocently type physical  
characters on their keyboards which, given infrastructure with ASCII  
in use anywhere (in particular, and especially with multiple uses of  
slightly incompatible ASCII), have disastrous consequences. PHP, MySQL  
and LEFT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK comes painfully to mind.

>   Q2:  The reason I care is that I continue to use Netscape Navigator
>        4.76, the last version of Navigator for Linux. And it has a bug
>        such that if the charset of a doc is declared UTF-8, it renders
>        the doc in a teeny, myopic font size, overiding my preference
>        selection.
>        So: does anyone know of a binary patch or other hack that will
>        extirpate this behaviour?  I've grovelled through the
>        executable as well as all the config stuff and haven't found
>        any way to do it.

Your client is broken. And not in the what might charitably be called  
"just missing features" or "interpretation of spec" but in any event  
"has 90% market share and needs to work" type of brokenness of IE.  
And, with many orders of magnitude less users, not worth even talking  

> Yes, I have Firefox, too, to use when I really, *really* want to see
> something that embeds a few paragraphs of useful information in a
> mare's nest of js, flash, UTF-8 and all the other "web designer"
> chrome.  But I don't like it because ... <rant elided>.

Then you have a choice to make:

- continue using a broken client
- use a non-broken client, out of the box
- use the same non-broken client, and turn off the features which you  
are annoyed by.

UTF-8 is:

1) the right thing to do in a perfect world
2) necessary to do to make reasonable things work in the world we live in
3) has support from >99% of the market


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