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"Denis B. Roegel" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 16 Nov 1999 10:26:42 +0100
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`Marcin Wolinski' wrote
>   Denis B. Roegel wrote:
>   > Among the language attributes, there should IMHO be "default encodings."
>   > These encodings would be either a pair of < input encoding, output encoding >
>   > or a pair of lists of encoding, which would enable priorities.
>   > For instance, English should have as a default < ASCII, OT1 >.
>   > French should have < latin1, T1 >, Russian could have < koi8-r, X2 >, etc.
>   > These encodings would then just be triggered when one writes
>   > \selectlanguage{french}, etc. I haven't tried the new version of babel,
>   Unfortunatelly many input encodings can be appropriate for a given
>   language (e.g. for Polish we have at least 3 widely used encodings),
>   and it may be difficult to judge, which of them should be default
>   (this may depend on the operating system).  So it probably is not such
>   a good idea to have global defaults.
>   On the other hand using different encodings for a language within one
>   document is somewhat perverse.  So it would be reasonable to have per
>   document defaults.

Yes, but these defaults should depend on the language.

Anyways, there are already defaults, after all:

  - output encoding default for English, French, Russian, etc.: OT1

      (when you write \usepackage[russian,english]{babel}
       you don't get an output encoding different from OT1, you get OT1,
       so OT1 is the default output encoding)

      clearly, this is not suited for French or Russian

  - input encoding default for English, French, Russian, etc.: ASCII

      (when you write \usepackage[russian,english]{babel}
       you don't get an input encoding different from ASCII, you get ASCII,
       so ASCII is the default input encoding)

      again, this is not suited for Russian. (As far as I know, the two
      main input encodings are koi8 and alt, so one of them should be
      a default)

Of course, this can be overridden with things like


and in addition to this, if you switch from one language/encoding
to another in the same document, you have to use commands like \anglais
or \russe defined as


Clearly, this seems to me as an inconvenience. One would expect
that a decent language package not only selects the correct
hyphenation rules, but also appropriate encodings.
Nothing prevents the use from overriding this.

I know that for some languages there is maybe not only one choice
of (input/output) encoding, but this doesn't mean a default cannot
be chosen. In my opinion, a default that suits a large proportion
(even a minority) of people is better than a default that suits nobody.
Don't you agree?

Also, for output encodings at least, we can have a list of
default encodings in decreasing priority, in case some files
are not present. I think some russian package does implement this.

It seems to me that nobody writes in more than one language in babel
and with different encodings (probably most people are using T1/latin1
for the different languages) and so that nobody has faced the problems
I am raising... But with Russian, T1/latin1 does not work!

Denis Roegel