To show or not to show french accents

Jon Fairbairn Jon.Fairbairn at
Fri Dec 19 16:39:00 EST 2003

(note change of forum from glasgow-haskell-users)
On 2003-12-19 at 12:28GMT MR K P SCHUPKE wrote:
> I wrote:
> >The problem is that if you are reading single bytes, 233 is
> >not necessarily é.
> Erm, Internationalisation is not my thin as such... but I can't help
> commenting that from a systems point of view this is an utterly bad
> sitiation to be in...

It certainly is. 

> I though Haskell used unicode?

It's supposed to. Note that I said "/if/ you are reading a
single byte", meaning that I was talking about the (not
uncommon) curcumstance where the underlying operating system
presents you with bytes each of which represents a single
character (ie not something like utf-8). Haskell is supposed
to deal with Unicode internally, but the I/O system's
treatment of it is not currently in a happy state, at least
partly because of what lies beneath.

> I thought in unicode the id of a character was fixed
> irrespective of language.

It is.

> Where is unicode support lacking?

All over the place. There's this monstrous notion of
"locale" that means that if you move your computer across
the border from Germany into Poland and change the system
settings appropriately, all character files change their
meanings. It stems from files being untyped, and as all good
Haskell programmers know, untyped is a Bad Thing.


Jón Fairbairn                                 Jon.Fairbairn at

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