Electronic Mail in Russian
Well, well... This was once a most touching part of the whole
russification affaire. Mail on the net was mostly transported with
an MTA (Mail Transport Agent) called sendmail which
lives under OS Unix. At those dark ages, there were many "bad"
versions of sendmail that did not handle 8bit traffic
correctly. I remember the fights with ignorant system administrators
who knew nothing about that utility: it is considered one of the
most complicated things in the Unix World. These people were
afraid to touch anything related to the sendmail, so they
did not want to upgrade to the normal 8bit clean agent.
The life is much better now. I believe, the times of horror
have mercifully passed away. I would claim that all Internet is
8bit safe these days, so most of my discussion will be about the
applications. One general point is always applicable: you have to
pass 8bit text "as is". Do not, I repeat, do not warp it with some
sort of bizzare algorythm!
If you somwhow run into a problem with the high bit
stripped, the first thing to check is whether you (or your ISP) has
a V8 sendmail. If it is not the case, your environment REALLY
needs to be upgraded, and not only because of the high bit issue. There
are many security patches in V8 as well. If you do have V8 but the bit is
still stripped, check sendmail.cf to make sure you have few things
in the right place:
Once this is all in place, check your application program.
- Look at the delivery agent definition (Msomething). Make
sure F option does not have 7 in there. Or explicitly
put 8, so 8th bit comes through.
- Find EightBitMode option, It has to be set to pass.
If you have mimify there, remove it: you do not want it
(characters have to flow "as is").
You need to make sure it knows about the fonts. Keyboard issues are
general for X. Make sure you add "koi8-r" to *mimeCharsets
in your .exmh-defaults and also add this (presumably you have Cronix
*mime_koi8-r_plain_family: courier fixed
*mime_koi8-r_proportional_family: helvetica times
Because Pine runs within the XTerm, font and keyboard issues are
the same as for XTerm itself. However, you must make sure that the
following attributes in the Pine configuration are set. Go to "SETUP"
and "Configuration". Set the following:
character-set = koi8-r
Notice that some old versions of Pine (for example, 3.91) do not have
the most important option, pass-control-characters-as-is.
Without it, the client will warp 8bit characters into ASCII set
using BASE64 algorythm. It will be OK if the person you are writing
to has MIME aware client (Netscape, Exmh, etc.) but you can not
guarantee that. 8bit characters should be sent "as is"!!
Netscape (all species)
Make sure you turn 8bit (and turn off MIME) in the "Mail" part of the
Eudora for Windows
Same logic is also applicable to Eudora: old versions behaved much
like those of Pine (see above). In the newer ones you also have to
turn off BASE64 warping. The best solution is to install a
KOI-8 plug-in (this page is in Russian and using koi8-r
You DO NOT need special koi8-r fonts or keyboard layouts and it
rewrites the headers correctly. Everything
is in there. This piece of software is written by Eugene Surovegin, so
all the questions have to be
mailed to him.
ftp the plug-in here
from sunsite or get it directly from Eugene's pages.