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Re: [Nmh-workers] I like neither green eggs and ham nor MIME

From: norm
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] I like neither green eggs and ham nor MIME
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2014 06:18:25 -0700

Ken Hornstein <address@hidden> writes:
>>I take back back what I said, earlier about the default format that my editor
>>stored nmh bound files in. A few weeks, ago, I did change the default to
>>UTF-8. But as of, Dec 14 2012, for files whose names are all digits and are in
>>in my draft folder the default is overridden to ISO-8859-1. I don't know I why
>>did that.
>Well, that would explains things perfectly!
>>Pending your instructions, I will not fix this problem. The two questions are
>>what should be the storage charset be for files destined for nmh and should be
>>the charset for other files.
>Nmh assumes that text you give to it is the character set of your locale;
>so if you have a UTF-8 locale, it assumes that the text you give it is
>UTF-8 and will mark it appropriately.  Well, technically if the text is
>only ASCII then it will mark it as ASCII, but if there are any 8-bit
>characters it will then assume that it's in UTF-8.  You can override this
>default with an mhbuild directive; if you were to put the following at
>the beginning of your text:
>#<text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
>and "mime" the draft at the WhatNow prompt, it would label it as ISO-8859-1.
>But that would be a pain.
>So, what should your editor do?  Well, since nmh thinks your character
>set is UTF-8 it would make the most sense to have your editor do that
>for nmh files.
>For your other files ... well, I guess that depends on what you want
>to do.  My personal feeling is that the world seems to be migrating to
>UTF-8 as a default, and unless there is a reason you cannot handle UTF-8
>then that's the way you should go.  If you've changed your locale to
>UTF-8 you've already told the traditional Unix utilities that's what
>you're using.
>>> How did you get the saved text from the saved editor file into nmh?
>>I typed "s\n" into "whatnow". As will do, in a moment, after storing as UTF-8.
>I was more thinking about what happened before that; I guess your default
>editor that gets invoked by repl is norms-cool-editor?


I just changed norms-cool-editor's (yeah! I like that name) default charset,
for writing, to US-ASCII. But files that whose names are all digits and are in
in my draft folder will not be stored as UTF-8.

I am not at all secure about how the standard GNU utilities will handle
non-ascii characters. For example, 'wc -c', just counts bytes. True, the man
page talks about bytes, not characters, but I am still left uncomfortable.
Then there are the dozens of bash, python, and perl scripts that I have
accumulated over the years.

However, if I ever try to store any non-ascii characters, with US-ASCII,
norms-cool-editor will give me the option, of selecting a different charset,
applying a filter that represents non-ascii characters as ascii strings, or
just blindly storing in US-ASCII. I can then make a judgment about what to

Thank you very much.

    Norman Shapiro

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