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Re: documentation bug: Mule and MSDOS

From: dirk janssen
Subject: Re: documentation bug: Mule and MSDOS
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001 10:40:37 +0200 (CEST)

On Tue, 27 Mar 2001, Eli Zaretskii wrote:

I am very impressed with your turn around time. Thanks a lot! Here is more
moaning on the subject, can be disregarded if you like. In short, I still
think there should be more info on this topic:

Move/copy the 2 last paragraphs from the end of the MSDOS:International
section to an independent section ``Reading
MS-DOS and Windows files on other operating systems'' (either in MS-DOS or
mule part of the manual) and make a Note-link to it from the other

Reading MSDOS files is a common operation, that is different from reading
normal encodings. It is non-trivial for people who do not use encodings


> I don't understand why did you assume this.  Codepages are just
> special encoding of their supported character sets, so what led you to

let me say that the general concept of how emacs handles special coding
systems (by converting them) was not clear to me for quite a while. Could
be either my stupidness or a documentation problem.

> > 3. the MULE docs do not mention codepages at all, one has to go to the
> > emacs on dos section.
> The most efficient method of finding something in the manual is by
> using the Info-index command (bound to `i' in Info mode).  If you use
> that, you will find the information no matter where in the manual it
> is located.

yes, I know. But: - looking for `international' or `european' didn't help
much. Looking for `ms-dos' gives a ton of references. Looking for `code
page' works, but how am I (or the average user) to know that that is how
the dos system is called?  It certainly rang a bell with me once I spotted
the word somewhere, but that was after the fact.

> dos-codepage-setup doesn't do anything that is useful to Unix and
> GNU/Linux systems.  You need codepage-setup, which is described right
> next to dos-codepage-setup.
but without any mentioning of the fact that the first command is only for
dos users and the second for unix users. Again, it all makes perfect sense
if you know the mechanisms, caveats, implementation details. But that is
quite an assumption to make.

> > 4. The other command `codepage-setup' does not change the display at
> > all
> To use that coding system, you need to visit a file while forcing
> Emacs to use that codeing system.  Here's the relevant excerpt from
> the manual:
>     By default, Emacs defines a coding system to support the current
>     codepage.  To define a coding system for some other codepage (e.g., to
>     visit a file written on a DOS machine in another country), use the `M-x
>     codepage-setup' command.  It prompts for the 3-digit code of the
>     codepage, with completion, then creates the coding system for the
>     specified codepage.  You can then use the new coding system to read and
>     write files, but you must specify it explicitly for the file command
>     when you want to use it (*note Specify Coding::).
this is a perfect text, but in the wrong place: Somewhere at the bottom of
the I18N (how cryptic can you get?) section on using emacs on ms-dos
(``This section briefly describes the peculiarities of using Emacs under
the MS-DOS "operating system"''). The next paragraph mentions my problem!

Move/copy both paragraphs to an independent section ``Reading
MS-DOS and Windows files on other operating systems'' (either in MS-DOS or
mule part of the manual) and make a Note-link to it from the other

> I don't think this is possible in general: there are too many
> different combinations of the ``primitive'' operations described in
I can see that. But again, reading MSDOS files is a very specific and very
common problems, that is more abstract than reading any encoding, because
MSDOS encodings are read in a different way (codepage-setup).

> This is already done for the next version, here's the excerpt:
>     A special class of coding systems, collectively known as
>     "codepages", is designed to support text encoded by MS-Windows and
>     MS-DOS software.  To use any of these systems, you need to create it
>     with `M-x codepage-setup'.  *Note MS-DOS and MULE::.

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