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Re: lynx-dev HTML4.0 and default charset

From: Klaus Weide
Subject: Re: lynx-dev HTML4.0 and default charset
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 07:19:52 -0600 (CST)

On Fri, 5 Mar 1999, David Woolley wrote:

> There seem to be lots of places where local character sets are assumed
> and there is a lot of reaction against MIME (e.g. the Ukranian writer).

Some people love to hate "MIME", apparently often without knowing what
it is - they take their pet peeve and say it's all the fault of some
nebulous "MIME" entity.  Without realizing that the success story of the
Web has also been, to a large degree, the success story of MIME.
(Imagine *no* header meta-information, or type information only embedded
in the URL as with gopher - would the Web be the same? - although no
doubt Microsoft it effectively steering back in that direction.)

The Ukrainian writer was interested in communication with a couple of
friends who all happen to have the same OS, language, and character sets
or fonts.  Too bad for him that the *W*WW protocols at least attempt
to have a broader scope.

> It's in that sort of context where a service provider being correct may
> lose customers.
> Generally, though, I think character sets will always be a problem because
> it is difficult to make people think globally even if they are vaguely
> aware of characters sets.  It's probably still difficult to make them
> think there is any software platform except the one they use.

Eventually this will be decided by non-technical factors.  If there's enough
demand for an *international* *W*WW to exist and for sites to interoperate
with non-local clients, then people will learn to do the right thing.
If people are content with the fragmented state of affairs, tings will
stay as they are.  It would be tragic only if people were truly interested
in an international WWW but were prevented from realizing it (by, say, one
vendor's faulty products' continuing dominance).


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