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Re: [tlug] Firefox 3.0.1 doesn't respect <meta http-equiv="content-type">

Edward Middleton writes:
 > Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
 > > Edward Middleton writes:
 > >
 > >  > What I presume Curt is saying is that adding descriptive metadata 
 > >  > necessary to reliably read the contents of a file, in an encoding 
 > >  > specific to the file, is inherently stupid because you have to already 
 > >  > have this information in order to read the encoded metadata.
 > > that's factually incorrect in several ways, and generally wrong-headed.
 > Care to explain the several things you see as being factually incorrect, 
 > and why you think this is wrong-headed?

The most obviously contradicted fact is that the standard specifies
that when the META element is used, the file's encoding should be
ASCII-compatible.  That's all you need.  Note that the XML standard
does exactly the same thing, except for making a hard requirement of a
much more useful ASCII-compatible default (ie, UTF-8).  It's
interesting that somebody is claiming that this is "inherently stupid"
when a couple of decades of experience with similar systems has led to
continual refinement and strengthening of this specification.

Second fact, whose contradiction is implied, neither I nor the
standards claimed that this metadata is *necessary* to "reliably" read
the contents of a file.  What we claim is that the META element *may*
be *useful* to the server in analyzing the contents of the file.  In
particular, on my server, it is inherently more reliable than an
Apache AddDefaultCharset (because multiple encodings are known to be
in use, any default must be incorrect for some files).

Third fact is that there is no reason to presume that the server has
any better knowledge of the file's encoding than the file itself;
somebody (sorry for dropping the cite) pointed out that analyzing
files on the fly to provide appropriate content-type information is an
excessive burden on servers, and so is rarely if ever done.  Servers
just don't know; it's up to the site maintainers to tell them.  The
only conceptual problem with using the META element to do that is that
Apache ignores it ... but when that standard was written, Apache

What's wrong-headed about it is that to claim this is "inherently
stupid" *does* presume that the server knows better, while this thread
presents conclusive evidence that a competently designed server can
easily be configured to get it wrong by default.

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