Non-ASCII encoding

Julian Cable julian.cable at
Tue Jul 1 08:53:49 UTC 2008

-On [20080701 09:30], Martin Jerabek (martin.jerabek at wrote:
>If more non-ASCII characters are going to be included in the tzdata 
>files, I would like to propose to define UTF-8 as the official encoding 
>of the tzdata files.

 I'm a bit ambivalent on this one.

In principle, I agree. In practice UTF-8 has at least one little quirk which has caused me problems:

Microsoft operating systems always start UTF-8 encoded files with a Byte Order Mark (BOM) (

*nix-like operating systems never do (at least in my experience) and at least one perl-based xml parser
running on Linux chokes on the BOM.

So I have a practical preference for the 7-bit subset of UTF-8 with no BOM (of course I would never
dream of calling this ASCII ;)

If we go for UTF-8 can we be very firm about whether a BOM is required or prohibited and please make sure its
not permitted.

Julian Cable
BBC World Service
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