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Re: Debian Metadata Standard -- proposed

"Marco d'Itri" <md@linux.it> writes:
> I quickly read it (I hope I did not miss any important thing) and I think
> there is not enough support for foreign languages: just sticking to
> Latin-1 will cut out many, many, people, mostly russian and asian
> readers.

I surely do not want to write a standard that does that.

> I think there are two possible solutions:

> - use Unicode (probably UTF-7 encoded like the kernel does for ext2)
> and display it using the kernel console driver or a unicode xterm, or

Yikes.  How would that function for web interfaces?

Perl doesn't support unicode yet but should soon I think.

> - simply be 8 bit clean and put in EVERY field informations about the
> encoding used (it could be latin-1 for west european languages, KOI-8
> for russian, BIG-5 for chinese and so on) and program the user interface
> to convert the encoding to the one used by the console (this is not
> a trivial task).

Hmm.  Yeah.

> (I think the first solution is the best and easier to implement.)

Unfortunately we'd be a bit ahead of the curve w.r.t. browser support,
tool support (like Perl, Python).  Unicode is more in line with the
emerging XML standards, though, too, so probably philosophically

If I went with UTF-7 encoded text, normal ASCII is just the same,
isn't it?  (Pardon me; I did a lot of research on UTF-7 in early 1996
but that was a long time ago.)

> Please also remember that there is a big difference between stating that
> field X contains "ISO-8859-1 characters" and stating that field X
> contains "text ISO-8859-1 encoded". The actual content is the same, but
> in the text of the first example cannot be interpreted unless the
> user interface assumes something about the encoding (i.e. that those
> bytes represents glyphs accordingly to the ISO-8859-1 encoding).

Ok, I'll update that in the spec.  I've made a note for now.

Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

.....A. P. Harris...apharris@onShore.com...<URL:http://www.onShore.com/>

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