[aprssig] APRS Message character sets ?

Scott Miller scott at opentrac.org
Thu Jul 10 14:27:37 EDT 2008

> My point is more along the lines that even OLD TNC2 will work when commanded
> into KISS mode.  I have enough experiences with "sanitized 8N1 text monitor"
> modes to know that they are very bad idea  -->  KISS mode into use.
> (And doing bi-directional igate with such monitor mode is wrought with
> unreliabilities.)

Absolutely, everyone should be using KISS (or a better protocol).  But 
good luck with that, at least in the US.  You've got a lot of people 
very set in their ways who just won't change.  Many of my Tracker2 
customers even insist on trying to use the console mode for IGate 
operation, when it was never intended to do that - that's why it's got a 
KISS mode and dual serial ports.  It's clearly not a problem with the 
hardware not supporting it; it's just users who won't change.

> The network infrastructure handles just sequences of 8-bit bytes that
> are presentable as text lines meaning that byte codes 0x0d 0x0a designate
> end of line.
> Even the UTF-16 characters are just pairs of such 8-bit bytes that are
> considered as encoding for single character of Unicode codespaces.

Someone else mentioned that UTF-8 avoids characters below 32, so the 
0x0d 0x0a issue I brought up shouldn't be a problem.

> And by the way, traditionally US people are completely ignoring the issue
> of international character sets.  When one does not need characters outside
> US-ASCII, all is fine and dandy with limiting everything to US-ASCII.

We also, as a people, refuse to learn foreign languages, use an archaic 
system of weights and measures, and generally expect the rest of the 
world to accommodate us.  So again, good luck with that.  =]

> I do think that UI-View is dead software that should be deprecated, and
> as soon as somebody makes similar quality modern software THAT GETS
> SUFFICIENT PROMOTING, it will be irrelevant as to the message encodings.
> (No, I do not write Windows software.)

People are resistant to change.  Especially in the case of something 
like the D700 where they paid several hundred dollars for a piece of 
hardware that can't adapt.

> On "message" messages I would prefer some updated standard, preferrably
> ASCII compatible one, which in practice means UTF-8.   On other type of
> messages there are some comment fields, which I have seen(*) carrying
> characters outside ASCII -- and those pesky zero bytes.

I can think of no reason why UTF-8 would NOT be the right choice for 
this.  I'd say go ahead and do some end-to-end testing, see what breaks, 
and see what can be fixed.  But don't rely on US developers to take the 
initiative in this area, or to even have much input.  I really think 
this DOES need to be dealt with, but if you leave it up to this forum I 
don't think it'll ever happen.


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