[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Bug#99324: Default charset should be UTF-8

Package: debian-policy
Severity: wishlist

I think Debian should start to move into using UTF-8 by default everywhere.


The current 'standard' default character set is ISO-8859-1. This works fine
most of the time, however, it causes some problems. For instance, most of the
documentation is in ISO-8859-1 -- except the ones which are in languages that
need another charset. If a user is fluent in two languages which needs
incompatible charsets, he would have to keep switching charsets all the time.
To avoid this, a single charset which works for all languages should be used by

Using UTF-8 by default in Debian would also have the added side benefit of
forcing all programs to properly handle variable-length multibyte charsets.

It could also be possible to add an UTF-8 encoded version for all locales
(could be a simple matter of changing the commented defaults in the list of
 locales). Having a single charset means that people using wildly different
charsets could be able to read/edit the same text files without having to
recode them.

Using UTF-8 in the name of files means that nobody's file name would look like
gibberish for someone else just because the charsets being used are different.

Last but not least, someone has to take the lead and be the first to do it.
Debian has done it before in things like consistent keyboard handling. The
structure of Debian makes it the ideal place to initiatives which touch a lot
of things like this one.

For people who aren't using UTF-8, if /usr/doc is consistently coded in UTF8,
it'd be possible to use Apache tricks to force its enconding as UTF-8 when
viewed using the http://localhost/doc/ default URL.

-- System Information
Debian Release: testing/unstable
Architecture: i386
Kernel: Linux flower 2.4.5 #1 Tue May 29 18:09:30 BRT 2001 i686
Locale: LANG=en_US.ISO8859-1, LC_CTYPE=C

Versions of packages debian-policy depends on:
ii  fileutils                     4.1-2      GNU file management utilities.    

Reply to: