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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Re: {arch} directory

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Re: {arch} directory
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 12:37:01 +0900
User-agent: Gnus/5.1001 (Gnus v5.10.1) XEmacs/21.5 (celery, linux)

>>>>> "Jason" == Jason McCarty <address@hidden> writes:

    Jason> I don't get it.

Ah, the seed of wisdom has been planted.

MarkJ sent Unicode 0109 SMALL LATIN LETTER C WITH CIRCUMFLEX, encoded in
ISO 8859/3.  I copied it.  Somewhere between and
your screen that character was corrupted to a question mark, almost
certainly on your system (MTAs don't do that kind of thing any more).

    Jason> Unicode doesn't even enter the picture, just ASCII.

Well, actually wasn't either Unicode or ASCII; it was ISO 8859/3.  I
mentioned Unicode because it's the (nearly) universal way to
unambiguously specify character values.

So we can infer that ISO 8859/3 is unsupported on your system.  And it
didn't even bother to tell you it was corrupting your mail.  :-(

mutt normally does this right (it's a simple MIME function, and even
if it _displays_ a question mark because you don't have an ISO 8859/3
font, it can and should preserve the content of the message when you
reply); I have to wonder where your system is broken.

    Jason> On a side note, why does unicode have its own question
    Jason> mark?

It doesn't.  Unicode has very few characters "of its own."  Rather,
Unicode is the union of many national character sets, some of which
have multiple question marks.  Japanese is one such; I believe that
Chinese and Arabic also have their own.

However, that's not the problem here.  There were no question marks at
all until your system corrupted your mail.

    Jason> I thought it incorporated ascii as a subset.

It does, and at the same codepoints as ASCII.

    Jason> That sounds very broken. If a system understands unicode,
    Jason> why not preserve every character with its original coding
    Jason> in the filename?  Translating filenames is just asking for
    Jason> trouble, and will break more than arch.

This is just the "why don't all the damn foreigners speak English?"
issue in another guise.  They don't, and won't, OK?

You want to see spaces in your file names because they're more
readable.  Other people also want readable file names, and if there is
a way to translate (as there typically is among the various ISO 8859
character sets), they are going to insist that it be done.  Cf. Ellis
and Stroustrup, _The Annotated C++ Reference Manual_, in the
discussion of trigraphs (section 16.2 in the 1990 edition).

    >> And it will be just as impossible to see on screen as the
    >> difference between a SPACE and a NO-BREAK SPACE, unless you
    >> know what to look for and deliberately prevent your system from
    >> being "helpful".

    Jason> I can do without the kind of "help" that breaks things
    Jason> behind my back :-)

Yeah, well, the joke's on you.  You've got that kind of help already.

    Jason> Quoting is my panacea:

The world has gone wa-a-a-y far out of its way to make things easy for
you, at substantial expense for all non-Americans.  The point is not
whether you have habits that you're used to; it's that other people
(including shell programmers) have needs that become extremely hard to
serve robustly because your habits have been given precedence.

I'm not saying that you should be made to change your habits.  There's
too much legacy data out there, even if you were willing.  But there
were strictly better alternatives available at the time this bug was
introduced, and so it was stupid.

    Jason> I suppose foo&nbsp;bar would eventually be acceptable if

Your system is known broken, so I wrote "Program&nbsp;Files" rather
than "Program Files", which is not the same thing as "Program Files".

    Jason> the shell supported it, but it seems unnecessary, since
    Jason> spaces work for me _now_.

Heh.  That's what you think.  But your system is _proven_ broken.
Good luck; you're gonna need it someday.

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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