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problem with editing/decoding utf-8 text

From: Fery
Subject: problem with editing/decoding utf-8 text
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 14:08:55 +0200

Hello there,

I have a UTF-8 text file, containing latin-1 text. When I try to edit it
with emacs, it does not detect that it is utf-8; the
describe-coding-system gives back 'iso-latin-1-unix'. (And I see the
two-byte representation of latin1 chars, which is not bad to me.)

When I save the buffer, it displays an error message:

These default coding systems were tried:
However, none of them safely encodes the target text.

Now, no matter what I choose (raw-text, no-conversion, utf-8), it
modifies all of the utf8 chars which are not fit into the ascii charset.
It seems, that it inserts a \201 before every char which is not in the
ascii charset. I.e. if I just load and save a file, emacs does not
behaves transparently.

Moreover, there is a BUG: if I press ^G at the error message above, and
quit without saving the file, it _deletes_ the file, although leaves an
auto-save file (where the latin1 chars are bad).

I have found one solution: opening the file with
universal-coding-system-argument, using even UTF-8 (then I see correctly
the chars, although it is not always important) or e.g. no-conversion.

My questions:

0. What is this \201 byte?

1. Cannot I tell to a buffer (after the load of a file) that interpet it
as binary, and save exactly the same bytes what it did read into the
buffer (i.e. transparent buffer)?

2. What is the difference between raw-text, no-conversion, binary? On
some places, I can choose any of them, on other places not... This whole
coding system is a nightmare... :(((

3. Cannot I tell to emacs that interpret the keyboard input as "raw"? I
have set input-meta to On, convert-meta to Off in .inputrc, and if I
could tell emacs that "just interpret the bytes from the terminal input
what they are", then I could copy/paste utf-8 data (in raw format) from
another application. (I run emacs on linux, with the 'putty' terminal on

GNU Emacs 21.3.2 on debian unstable linux.


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