[whatwg] Is EBCDIC support needed for not breaking the Web?

Henri Sivonen hsivonen at iki.fi
Sun Jun 1 08:00:58 PDT 2008

On Jun 1, 2008, at 17:25, Bjoern Hoehrmann wrote:

> * Henri Sivonen wrote:
>> This makes me wonder: Do the top browsers support any EBCDIC-based
>> encodings but just without exposing them in the UI? If not, can there
>> be any notable EBCDIC-based Web content?
> Internet Explorer should support any character encoding Windows  
> supports
> (see the advanced tab in `control International`), which includes many
> EBCDIC encodings. See eg. http://www.websitedev.de/temp/ebcdic-cp-us.txt
> for an example.


Philip Taylor made a test case:

It shows that browsers that use general-purpose decoder libraries (IE  
and Safari) support some EBCDIC flavors but browsers that roll their  
own decoders (Firefox and Opera) don't.

Firefox and Opera being able get away with not supporting EBCDIC  
flavors suggests that EBCDIC-based encodings cannot be particularly  
Web-relevant. Even if saying that browsers MUST NOT support them might  
end up being a dead letter, it seems that it would be feasible to say  
that browsers SHOULD NOT support them or at least MUST NOT let a  
heuristic detector guess EBCDIC (for security reasons).

(Also, I think I'm going to remove EBCDIC support from Validator.nu.)

> It seems to me www-international at w3.org would have been
> a better place to ask your questions than the mailing lists you  
> picked.

So many lists. :-( CCed that one, too, just in case.

Henri Sivonen
hsivonen at iki.fi

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