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[tlug] Re: Hotmail mail encoding

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <> dashed off:
Are you sure that's not

<DIV =

(note how the leading "=" of the second line becomes a trailing one in
the first line; line breaks are significant here)?

If it's the former, it's a very broken quoted-printable encoding (ie,
ASCII armor) that any self-respecting MUA will refuse to decode.  If
the latter, it's compatible with UTF-8 encoded with quoted-printable,
decoding to gibberish (as far as I can tell).

'T'ain't Japanese in UTF-8. UTF8ed Japanese is always in 3-byte sequences starting with En (apart from some of the rare kanji that turned up in JIS213). There are 28 bytes in that sequence, and the last is a plain old "B" which can't be part of UTF8. Smells like Shit-JIS.

That is correct given the headers you post for that message.  That is
perfectly valid text/plain as is; no decoding is requested, and all
characters are ASCII so no error will be signaled.  Of course, it's
gibberish to humans, but that is not your MUA's fault, it is being
*lied* to.  What appears to be happening is that Hotmail is assuming
that the remote end will treat the message as HTML no matter what the
headers say.


I suspect that you can read the message in Gmail because Gmail embeds
it in an HTML element before sending it (but without escaping the
entities, which is arguably broken).  (Or maybe your browser
implicitly does so.)  Evolution doesn't read it because it's an
approximation to a conforming MUA, but has no inherent bias toward
displaying things as HTML to cover up for Hotmail's total bogosity.

Gmail is pretty good at conforming to mail standards. I sent myself an email in Japanese from Hotmail to Gmail. It arrived quite viewable, but I couldn't inspect the encapsulation. I then forwarded it to a site with a text client and it arrived in ISO-2022-JP (I have Gmail set to default for the language, which means the presence of any kana flips it to ISO-2022-JP.)

 > Could the fact that I set my default encoding in Firefox to UTF-8 be
 > related to this?

Yes, but "how" is a good question.  Hotmail is clearly incredibly
broken, but webmail is such a complex application it's hard to guess
exactly where the breakage is occurring.

I think the Firefox setting is irrelevant when using Hotmail.


Jim Breen
Honorary Senior Research Fellow
Clayton School of Information Technology,
Monash University, VIC 3800, Australia

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