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Re: step by step HOWTO switch debian installation into utf-8

Radovan Garabik <garabik@melkor.dnp.fmph.uniba.sk>:

> slightly updated version is now also at:
> http://melkor.dnp.fmph.uniba.sk/~garabik/debian-utf8/HOWTO
> http://people.debian.org/~garabik/debian-utf8/HOWTO

I'm glad you've written that HOWTO. It encourages me to take a look at
entering UTF-8 with X, instead of entering all non-ASCII stuff with
Emacs, which is what I currently do.

Some comments:

(1) If you did your document as HTML, even with the whole text in
<PRE>...</PRE>, then you could use

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8">

in the HEAD and it would look right with most browsers.

How to put up a web page in UTF-8 might be something worth adding to
the document in any case, and an easy way to explain would be to make
your document into an example.

(2) I think the best way to set up the UTF-8 locale is to edit
/etc/locale.gen, rather than run localedef by hand, but you have to
run locale-gen after editing /etc/locale.gen, and I don't think you
mention that.


> mutt:
> mutt should be able to figure out you are using utf-8 from your
> locale, you can force it by putting
> set charset="utf-8"
> into /etc/Muttrc, and if incoming mails have correct headers,
> they will be displayed correctly (unfortunately, many mails (especially
> those originating in Russia) claim to be in incorrect encoding,
> mostly in iso-8859-1 - there is nothing to be done, except of
> saving the message and converting it with konwert or iconv)

You shouldn't set charset in /etc/Muttrc, as that would force Mutt
into UTF-8 even for users with non-UTF-8 locales. It's better to let
Mutt look at the locale, so advise people NOT to set the charset
explicitly. They can check that Mutt has picked up the appropriate
charset from the locale by typing ":set charset=" followed by TAB.

If you get a message with the wrong charset in the header, you can
correct it with ":exec edit-type". If it happens a lot you could
define a single key for the whole operation.

> start xterm -u8, type

You don't need "-u8" with sufficiently recent xterms; xterm looks at
the locale.

> There are many graphical glitches with all ncurses and slang applications.
> Just remember to press CTRL+L :-)

Er, yes. I have modified slang to work in UTF-8, but the modified
slang is not binary-compatible with standard slang, so it won't become
part of Debian very soon. However, if you want to avoid graphical
glitches with Mutt you can statically link it against a hacked slang,
as described in http://rano.org/mutt.html ... but there's no need to
mention that in the HOWTO, of course - it would probably put people
off when, as you say, Ctrl-L is a perfectly good work-around for many

By the way, does the current version of Lynx work correctly in a UTF-8
locale, modulo graphical glitches? If it does, there's no need to
mention it, but you used to need to configure it a bit to make it work
in a UTF-8 xterm, which would be worth mentioning if it's still the


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