[Bug 206884] Re: Firefox uses the wrong display encoding

André Pirard A.Pirard at ulg.ac.be
Fri Mar 28 01:45:22 UTC 2008

** Description changed:

  I have seen this since long with both Firefox 2.x and 3.0b3.
+ Rem: Please note that I don't say that Firefox always uses the wrong encoding.
+ Please read my followup to see how to reproduce the problem.
  I display, for example, http://atilf.atilf.fr/tlf.htm
  Its header is
  Le Trésor de la Langue Française Informatisé
  <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="atilf.css">
  Hence, its encoding should be ISO8859-1 by default as it has always
  As the uploaded attachment shows Firefox displays it using UTF-8.
  In Edit|Preferences|Content|Font & Colors|Default font|Advanced|Character Encoding
  there's an option named  "Default character encoding"  documented as follows
        The character encoding selected here will be used to display pages that
        do not specify which encoding to use.
  What's the use of this setting if the default must ALWAYS be ISO8859-1?
  Otherwise said, what would be the definition of a changing default?
  It can only cause people to _produce_ the error I describe.
  Hence, produce confusion.
  I saw people say that the wrong behavior I describe is caused by a wrong setting.
  There should obviously be no user setting for a necessary default.
  How could the heck a user know what default to set in his browser before being able to read a page if the only place it can be said is in that page he could only read by setting the correct default ;-)
  And this option was left to ISO8859-1 in my browser, of course.
  Search www.w3.org/TR/html401/charset.html for "default" and you will learn that a HTML document character code that should obviously be specified within the document is designed to be specified in the HTTP header (without saying BTW how it is specified when FTP is used) with ISO8859-1 as the default.
  Note that this blunder attributed to HTTP servers accused of not being able to detect the character code of files they store or of being misconfigured has been circumvented by introducing a META directive able to provide -- from the HTML document itself -- HTTP header data and hence the character code.
  But note that this is done without concluding that ISO8859-1 is the default code of META too, and hence of the document, without regard to the following question.
  Question : how the heck could a HTML "user agent" that ignores the default character set work any better than my posting this if you and I didn't know that we have to use ASCII?
  Answer : no better than the page display I show in my attachment.
  And finally, note that if the reliability of the expected result of a standard lies in this phrase :
  "By combining these mechanisms, an author can greatly improve the chances that, when the user retrieves a resource, the user agent will recognize the character encoding."
  the conclusion is : "OK, OK, that was only my bad luck again, it's a random game, bug dismissed, Firefox within said specs, I have to try again".
  Or should we try to see why Firefox didn't display ISO8859-1? I've see
  browsers do that for years.

Firefox uses the wrong display encoding
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