e-mail, character sets, encodings (was Re: George Keremedjiev)

Bill Degnan billdegnan at gmail.com
Sun Nov 25 17:32:16 CST 2018

Most mail servers sending inbound messages to the list include the encoding
scheme in the header.  The mailer program should process and translate the
email message body accordingly...in theory anyway.  The set up and testing
of a sampling of encoding variations would reveal which interpreters were
missing in our particular list's relay process.  Someone could create tests
with the most common 20 or so encoding schemes and a character set dump and
document the results etc.  Anyone have the time for that?  I dont really
think asking persons to fix their email program is the solution, it's a
mailing list fix/enhancement.  I bet there is documentation on such a
procedure I can't imagine we are the first to encounter this problem.  It's

On Sun, Nov 25, 2018, 3:24 PM Frank McConnell via cctalk <
cctalk at classiccmp.org wrote:

> Very old mail programs indeed have no understanding whatsoever of
> character sets or encoding.  They simply display data from the e-mail file
> on stdout or equivalent.  If you are lucky, the character set and encoding
> in the e-mail match the character set and encoding used by your terminal.
> The early-to-mid-1990s MIME work was in some part about allowing e-mail to
> indicate its character set and encoding, because at that point in time
> there were many character sets and multiple encodings.  Before that, you
> had to figure them out from your correspondent's e-mail address and the
> mess on your screen or printout.
> And really it's not just about the mail program, it's about the host
> operating system and the hardware on which it runs and which you are using
> to view e-mail.  Heavy-metal characters are likely to look funny on a
> terminal built to display US-ASCII like an HP 2645.  Your chances get
> better if the software has enough understanding of various Roman-language
> text encodings and you are using an HP 2622 with HP-ROMAN8 character
> support and the connection between your host and terminal is
> eight-bit-clean.  But then you get something that uses Cyrillic and now
> you're looking at having another HP 2645 set up to do Russian. And hoping
> your host software knows how to deal with those character sets and
> encodings too!
> -Frank McConnell
> On Nov 25, 2018, at 9:55, ED SHARPE via cctalk wrote:
> >
> > seems only the  very old   mail programs  do not adapt  to all character
> sets?
> >
> >
> > In a message dated 11/25/2018 6:19:52 AM US Mountain Standard Time,
> cctalk at classiccmp.org writes:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >> On Nov 21, 2018, at 4:46 PM, Bill Gunshannon via cctalk <
> cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>> On 11/21/18 5:19 PM, Fred Cisin via cctalk wrote:
> >>> Ed,
> >>> It is YOUR mail program that is doing the extraneous insertions, and
> >>> then not showing them to you when you view your own messages.
> >>>
> >>> ALL of us see either extraneous characters, or extraneous spaces in
> >>> everything that you send!
> >>> I use PINE in a shell account, and they show up as a whole bunch of
> >>> inappropriate spaces.
> >>>
> >>> Seriously, YOUR mail program is inserting extraneous stuff.
> >>> Everybody? but you sees it.
> >>>
> >>
> >> I don't. I didn't see it until someone replied with a
> >>
> >> copy of the offending text included.
> >>
> >>
> >> bill
> >>
> > same here. i didnt see them until some replies included the text.
> >
> > kelly
> >

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