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> > Keld, it's not clear that mnemonic is any friendlier to the installed
> > base (when taken as a whole) than either quoted-printable or
> > ISO-2022-INT-*. Mnemonic works for plain text in certain languages
> > (but maybe not so well for technical text or programming language
> > source code). Ohta-san's approach works okay for people who are
> > displaying messages on terminals that support ISO-2022 escape
> > sequences. Either of them will work if there is appropriate
> > decoding/display software on the recipient end. Neither of them
> > works well for everyone, and neither of the schemes will work
> > (without additional encoding) for message headers.
> I believe it is an engineering exercise. That is we should look
> how well the different approaches work for the different cases.
> The criteria is: what works best for the users?
There's a bit more to it than that. First of all, "the users" are quite a
diverse group, with lots of different capabilities, which are difficult to
characterize in any single statement. It's very hard to say that one single
solution works best for "the users", when one solution works better for some
users and another solution works better for others. Even if you can make a
general statement for "most users", it might hold true a year from now, and a
solution biased towards the needs of "most users" might so limit the
capability of the other users that they would go off and develop their own
> in the case QP vs MNEM, I would say that for each QP encoding,
> I can find a better MNEM encoding, in the sense that a reader would
> more easily understand it. QED.
Disagree, for the following reasons:
a) mnemonic is not fully general -- it's really works well only for latin
text. Even then, it's not clear how favorably it would compare with
quoted-printable. Most users would still complain anyway if their 8bit
characters went away and were replaced with mnemonic during a transition to
b) it does not provide the same capability as quoted-printable
for error-free data transfer over the mail network.
c) mnemonic doesn't fit as well into the MIME scheme, where content
is independent of encoding. This scheme makes it much easier to
add new content-types to MIME, than would otherwise be the case.
Being able to understand the encoded form of a letter is not the only
criterion to be used in declaring mnemonic "better" than quoted-printable.
And even if mnemonic were widely accepted, there would still be a need for
> I do not see the problems with scientific texts nor program texts
> with respect to MNEM. Examples?
Both scientific/mathmetical text and computer programming language text use
more special characters than normal text. It would seem to be harder to
distinguish mnemonic's special characters from those used by the surrounding
text, if the surrounding text were a computer program, than if it were
> > Quoted-printable looked like a reasonable compromise when it was
> > proposed, but didn't look as good when it started cropping up
> > everywhere. I'm not sure that either mnemonic or iso-2022-int-*
> > would fare any better when subjected to the same scrutiny. Do
> > your users like mnemnonic even if they were already
> > accustomed to seeing "the real thing" on their screens? Didn't they
> > complain when their real characters went away?
> Users want "the real thing". We did not make "the real thing"
> go away, if we could still provide it. [...] For the sites that
> we were MX-ing for, we recorded their preferred charset and converted
> back-and-forth [...]
This is not a fair basis on which to judge the likely acceptance of
mnemonic (especially when compared with quoted-printable) in the
+ In the first place, your own users mostly weren't seeing mnemonic...you
were pushing it off on your users' correspondents (whose complaints you were
less likely to hear!) (or were they just seeing things in an unfamiliar
+ In the second place, you had the chance to arrange things so that each site
received the character set it was used to...but since nobody has that kind of
power over the Internet, there's no assurance that this kind of approach
could work on that scale. For comparison of user acceptance with
quoted-printable, you need the same kind of model -- that each site has to
upgrade its user agents or gateways.
+ In the third place, some of your users complained anyway because their
correspondents were having trouble!
All of this seems to indicate that mnemonic would generate the same kinds of
complaints, that we're now hearing about quoted-printable. It might well
generate fewer complaints, but would the difference be enough to justify
changing direction now (even for netnews)? I doubt it very seriously.