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

Keith Moore moore at cs.utk.edu
Tue Oct 7 07:52:31 PDT 2008

I don't really want to get into a Mac vs. Windows war here (or anywhere,

I guess the point is that sometime in the distant past, the ASCII format
chosen for RFCs was a good compromise - it was something that could
reasonably be printed on a wide variety of different systems despite
differences in their native representation of text files.   (Especially
if you used the right FTP options to transfer the files.)

These days, plain text files have largely fallen into disuse among
ordinary users, with the possible exception of those using UNIX/Linux
systems.  So the tools that people are accustomed to using to read or
manipulate documents may not support them very well (or at all), and OS
vendors no longer regard the ability to print ordinary text files as an
essential system capability.  There are of course still tools available
on all of these systems that will deal with text files, but if users
don't know what those tools are, they'll have a hard time reading our

Which is why I have to wonder whether "plain UTF-8 text" is a useful
direction to be taking RFCs.

> Keith Moore wrote:
> > Julian Reschke wrote:
> >> Keith Moore wrote:
> >>> ...
> >>> I would add printing to the list of things that should be tried.  (or
> >>> am I the only one who still finds it useful to render RFCs in
> >>> dead-tree format and mark them up with pen?)
> >>> ...
> >> Printing RFCs as published doesn't work well, anyway.
> > That's because you're using Windows, which broke support for printing
> > ASCII files many years ago.  Printing RFCs works fine on other systems.
> You can print them with Wordpad. It interprets both line breaks and FFs
> fine.
> FWIW, I also designed the updated Word template - in which I write I-Ds
> and RFCs all the time. Windows has an ASCII "generic/text-only" printer
> that I use for that process.
> It is Apple doesn't have an equivalent of an ASCII printer driver.
> Who's broken for ASCII again?
> Joe

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