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Unknown character sets
Hi All --
Here's the stuff people will diagree with me about.
********* UNKNOWN-BIT *********
'unknown-bit' versus 'unknown': I prefer the former, but
would accept the latter. Read the rest of my message to be
neutral on this issue.
********* REGISTRATION *********
I, like Stef, Niel, Alain (I think) and Tony, think we should
register a particular "unknown" character set with IANA:
> My comments clearly stated that "unknown-7bit" and "unknown-8bit"
> should be IANA registered with a very specific semantic so that no
> one ever need wonder what it means.
> My preference for x- is based on the assumption that "unknown" is
> unregisterable, or at least should be. MIME seems to call for explicit
> specification of *character sets*, not abbreviations for "I don't have a
> clue, but I'm pretty sure it is text, maybe you can guess". If that
> reading is correct, then we have the following choices:
> -- Use x-, which does not require registration and which communicates
> some of the tone of "better go looking for external information".
> -- Modify MIME itself to contain support for an "unknown" concept.
> -- Encourage, in the transition document, violation of the MIME spec
> by using an unregistered value in the character set position that isn't
> a character set.
Or, as several people including myself, think,
-- Register special 'unknown' character sets.
RFC1341 (MIME) Specifies the following for registering a new
F.2 Registration of New Character Set Values
Subject: Registration of new MIME character set value
MIME character set name:
(The published specification must be an Internet RFC or
RFC-to-be or an international standard.)
Person & email address to contact for further
Given that our transition document will be an RFC, surely we
have the ability to register "unknown-8bit" if we choose?
Does anyone know people in IANA to ask about this? (Remind
them about MACHINE-NAME=UNKNOWN, and SYSTEM-NAME=UNKNOWN, in
RFC1340 [Assigned Numbers]. What happens if no MACHINE-NAME?
Default to VAX-11/780? Ho ho ho.)
If I was in IANA, I would define 'unknown' to be in *all* the
registered name lists, and individual RFCs or protocols could
say it's an error to use it. But I'm not, so rest easy.
********* PRIVATE AGREEMENT *********
Private agreement? If I was making a private agreement
there's no way on earth I'd use x-unknown -- I'd use
x-macintosh, x-ibm-extended-ascii-denmark-norway or something.
********* MTA or MUA? *********
> \ Receiver
> \ 7bit 8bit
> Sender \| only | clean | MIME
> 7bit only | (1) | (1) | (1)
> 8bit clean| (2) | (3) | (4)
> MIME/ESMTP| (5) | (5) | (6)
The document (and this table in particular) are unclear about
whether we are talking about MTAs or MUAs. I believe we should
be talking about transport agents, but keep our minds on the
users. Consequently, I believe the receiver line should read
> \ 7bit 8bit MIME/
> Sender \| only | clean | ESMTP