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Timothy,

 > On Sun, Feb 11, 2001 at 04:30:34PM +0100, Frank Mittelbach wrote:
 >
 > > TeX is 7bit with a parser that accepts 8bit but doesn't by default gives it
 > > any meaning. On the other hand Omega is 16bit (or more these days?) and could
 > > be viewed as internally using something like Unicode for representation.
 >
 > But isn't the 7/8-bit stuff in TeX "system-dependent"?

yes; which is why LaTex currently takes the approach that a) internally we
stay 7bit (especially when writing to files or reading back from them) and do
not support 8bit setups which do not pass 8bit straight through, ie we do not
think that the extension built into some TeXs to provide a hardwired input
encoding translation is a good one (since it will result in non-portable TeX
files.

 > I take this to mean optional.
 > Couldn't one therefore make UTF-8 the standard
 > without even asking the Great Man's premission?

i'm not asking the Great Man's permission for anything like that, but TeX is
TeX  (ie 7bit plus something not much helpful) and TeX is what the most people
use and will use for a long time to come. so i want LaTeX to run under TeX as
a platform and that means that UTF8 can't be a natural input encoding it can
only be something that LaTeX manually parses.

frank