ISO 8859 or Unicode? And how to convert? - Debian

This is a discussion on ISO 8859 or Unicode? And how to convert? - Debian ; -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 Hi all, this is not strictly laptop-specific, but I guess it's legitimate to raise this issue here. Think mobility. Think globalization. I keep running into more and more problems with the encoding of my ...

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Thread: ISO 8859 or Unicode? And how to convert?

  1. ISO 8859 or Unicode? And how to convert?

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    Hi all,

    this is not strictly laptop-specific, but I guess it's legitimate to
    raise this issue here. Think mobility. Think globalization.

    I keep running into more and more problems with the encoding of my name.
    Whether it's e-mails, files I receive or (lately) even the unlock screen
    of my screensaver: André is often encoded André which is plain ugly. I
    have a file where even gedit's auto-detection mechanism has to pass.

    Since I'm German, I naturally set my locale to de_DE.ISO-8859-15 when
    installing Debian over a year ago and I begin to wonder if ISO was the
    right choice, or if Unicode is the way to go?

    I'd like to hear your opinions on ISO and Unicode. And if the future
    belongs to Unicode (which I presume), what are best practices to convert
    a running system?

    Kind regards,
    André
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  2. Re: ISO 8859 or Unicode? And how to convert?

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    André Wendt wrote:

    [snip]

    > I keep running into more and more problems with the encoding of my
    > name. Whether it's e-mails, files I receive or (lately) even the
    > unlock screen of my screensaver: André is often encoded André
    > which is plain ugly. I have a file where even gedit's
    > auto-detection mechanism has to pass.

    [snip]

    I tried to write a short and helpful response and found I couldn't.

    The underlying problems are (i) some documents, e.g. simple files,
    don't contain encoding tags and (ii) not all software is code-page aware.

    Changing your system code page may make some things that are currently
    broken work and break others that are currently working.

    I'm happy to explain further off-line.

    Ian.
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  3. Re: ISO 8859 or Unicode? And how to convert?

    Ian Cairns wrote:
    > André Wendt wrote:
    > > I keep running into more and more problems with the encoding of my
    > > name. Whether it's e-mails, files I receive or (lately) even the
    > > unlock screen of my screensaver: André is often encoded André
    > > which is plain ugly. I have a file where even gedit's
    > > auto-detection mechanism has to pass.

    >
    > I tried to write a short and helpful response and found I couldn't.


    I as well fell into that same problem. But since you took the leap I
    will too.

    > Changing your system code page may make some things that are currently
    > broken work and break others that are currently working.


    Ian's and your messages were encoded in ISO-8859-15. I believe mine
    will be encoded in UTF-8 which I forced for this message so that you
    can compare the result. I am using a UTF-8 encoding by default for
    most things but I normally am use ISO-8859-1 for sending email because
    it traditionally has had the most support in *other people's* mailers.

    UTF-8 is clearly the place to transition. As time goes by I believe
    that UTF-8 will be the best supported charset. In my opinion it
    clearly has the best technical solution to the problem.

    André, did your name come through okay here in what I hope sent
    through as UTF-8?

    As far as how to convert:

    * Make sure you have a ISO 10646 (Unicode) font installed. Here are some.

    apt-get install xfonts-efont-unicode xfonts-efont-unicode-ib

    * Set up your Xresources to use one of them.

    pager /usr/share/doc/xfonts-efont-unicode/README.Debian

    * Select a UTF-8 locale. For me I have:

    export LANG=en_US.UTF-8
    export LC_COLLATE=C

    Bob


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