On 2018-04-10 23:52:59 (+0800), John Levine wrote:
In article <20180410083903.gi86...@rincewind.trouble.is> you write:
I've been tasked with finding out what the general consensus is on the support in email headers for International characters such as UTF-8 ...

Accented characters in real names are pretty universally accepted though. Even real names entirely in scripts that are nothing like ASCII.

Unless your mail program is badly broken, it'll encode UTF-8 or other non-ASCII text in address comments (aka friendly from aka real names) using MIME encoded-words so the message as sent and received only contains ASCII. All of the MUAs I know, even rather old ones like Alpine, automatically decode the MIME and show you the text.

There is a lot of really broken mail software out there...

While "traditional" MUAs have been (mostly) correctly MIME encoding and decoding address comments and subject headers for decades, plenty of web forms have always been broken. With UTF-8 becoming more ubiquitous, unencoded UTF-8 is starting to appear where previously there was all kinds of garbage.

Amusingly (or not), with SMTPUTF8, email from broken software now has a better chance of being delivered than before. :) Or at least getting as far as the spam filters rather than being dropped sooner.


Philip Paeps
Senior Reality Engineer
Ministry of Information

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