[rfc-i] Fwd: I-D ACTION:draft-hoffman-utf8-rfcs-03.txt

Joe Touch touch at ISI.EDU
Sun Oct 19 11:54:54 PDT 2008


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Julian Reschke wrote:
> My observations:
> 
> - So far nobody has made a competing proposal based on text/plain that 
> would work better.

Yet you observe that:

> 1) "text/plain; charset=utf-8" doesn't work well once the file is stored 
> locally in the file system, and the encoding information is lost. The
> proper fix for his is to use a UTF-8 BOM, which enables at least the 
> standard Windows applications (Notepad/Wordpad) to do the right thing.

and

> 3) It's hard to print text/plain with FF characters indicating form
> feeds. Using UTF-8 as encoding doesn't really change this, but it may
> reduce the choice of programs that are actually able to do it.

Later you note that:

> - The file format has no impact on what fonts the reader's operating
> system has; thus non-ASCII characters should be used carefully;...

and

> - Displaying text/plain; charset=utf-8 is no problem as long as the
> content is served via HTTP and displayed in a browser.

> - There is disagreement whether the ability to print the specification
> text as-is is important. It *is* possible to provide alternative
> versions that can be printed from browsers nicely (actually, this is
> already done).

These observations are self-contradictory.

The "competing proposal" here is to continue to use the current subset
of ASCII (presumably that's what you mean by 'text/plain'); so clearly
the lack of limitations (needing to use a browser - which isn't
available on all platforms, needing to be careful about local file
format and flag characters, etc.) favors text/plain.

> My proposal:
> 
> As the IETF itself requires all new work to allow non-ASCII characters, 
> and the UTF-8 spec is a full standard, we really should eat our own dog 
> food. 

It is a **very bad** idea to have documents describing a system "eat our
own dog food". The whole point is to be able to read the docs to build
our systems, not to use the docs as a proof-of-concept that our system
decisions work.

Joe
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