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Re: Absurd or reasonable request!

From: Ryan Schmidt <subversion-2006Q1_at_ryandesign.com>
Date: 2006-03-24 01:39:45 CET

On Mar 23, 2006, at 23:11, Res Pons wrote:

> Ok this is an oddball request. Would it be unreasonable of me to
> ask those using non-English or latin language keyboards to
> temporarily switch to English when posting to the user list? Some
> of the emails or posts by users from overseas are coming in in
> unreadable fonts and character that don't make any sense, at least
> to me. Maybe I'm doing it wrong and need to change my settings?

When you talk about non-English characters I presume you are talking
about non-ASCII or perhaps non-ISO-8859-1 characters, and I will
defend their use in a few ways.

Some emails with these characters are necessary because the problem
being reported is (at least presumed to be) directly related to these
special characters, for example this problem committing files with
Russian names:


Even that archive, however, doesn't get the encoding right; it
delivers the page as ISO-8859-1 though the email was sent in
Windows-1251. I'll take that issue up with the maintainer of the

Other messages with special characters contain them because some
people's names contain special characters, including Subversion
developer Branko ─îibej. It's not unreasonable for people to expect
that they would be able to use their name the way it's supposed to be

I've seen messages including special characters in footers added by
the email provider, generally free email providers, and generally to
advertise their services. When such services are geared towards non-
English-speaking people, it's not unexpected that these
advertisements would be written in the relevant non-English language.
Probably safe to ignore such footers since you're probably not in
their target group anyway. It would be ideal if people would not post
such footers to the list, but this is generally not under the
poster's control. (This applies also to corporate email accounts even
[or especially] in English-speaking countries with lengthy legalese
footers.) It would furthermore be ideal if people posting to public
discussion groups would refrain from using such broken email
services, but I fear that's a losing battle. Even your email included

> _________________________________________________________________
> Express yourself instantly with MSN Messenger! Download today -
> it's FREE! http://messenger.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200471ave/
> direct/01/

No special characters, granted, but it's part of the same problem.

Text emails do not include information on what font to use; that
decision is left up to the email client or to the operating system's
text rendering facility, and as such the sender has no influence over
it. You will of course need the right font to be able to see
characters in other scripts. A default install of Mac OS X includes
beautiful fonts for most of the world's languages, and there are
optional installs to deal with most of the rest; I do not know what
the situation is like on Windows or Linux.

If the sender used HTML mail, then this can contain font references,
including references to fonts which do not exist on your system,
which is one of countless reasons why HTML mail is frowned upon,
especially on public discussion lists.

If you have all the right fonts and you still don't see the right
characters, your email client may be at fault, and you should work
with the email client vendor to resolve the issues. For example, if
you're using Microsoft's Hotmail webmail service, it could be that
they're failing to process some kind of encoding properly (since
there are many different ways characters can be encoded for
transmission through email) and you should take the issue up with
them. I would expect, though, that any such problems would have been
worked out of the system long ago, since Hotmail has been around for
a long time, having been the very first webmail system in existence.
Before you report this as a problem to Microsoft, therefore, you
could look at some other web page containing characters in the script
you're trying to view. If that page displays correctly, blame
Hotmail. If that page also has problems, suspect the OS or its fonts.

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Received on Fri Mar 24 01:40:45 2006

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