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Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2013 08:54:57 -0400
From: Rich Felker <>
Subject: Re: iconv Korean and Traditional Chinese research so far

On Mon, Aug 05, 2013 at 09:03:43AM +0200, Harald Becker wrote:
> The only code that get a bit more, is the file system search.
> This depends if we only try single location or walk through a
> search path list. But this is the cost of flexibility to
> dynamically load character set conversions (which I would really
> prefer for seldom used char sets).

The only "seldom used char sets" are either extremely small (8bit
codepages) or simply encoding variants of an existing CJK DBCS (in
which case it's just a matter of code, not large data tables, to
support them).

> .... and for application writer it is only more, if he likes to
> add some charset tables into his program, which are not in
> statical libc.

This is only helpful if the application writer is designing around
musl. This is a practice we explicitly discourage.

> The problem is, all tables in libc need to be linked to your
> program, if you include iconv. So each added charset conversion
> increases size of your program ... and I definitly won't include
> Japanese, Chinese or Korean charsets in my program. No that I
> ignore those peoples need, I just wont need it, so I don't like
> to add those conversions to programs sitting on my disk.

How many programs do you intend to use iconv in that _don't_ need to
support arbitrary encodings including ones you might not be using
yourself? Even if you don't read Korean, if a Korean user sends you an
email containing non-ASCII punctuation, Greek letters like epsilon,
etc. there's a fair chance their MUA will choose to encode with a
legacy Korean encoding rather than UTF-8, and then you need the

It would be nice if everybody encoded everything in UTF-8 so the
recipient was not responsible for supporting a wide range of legacy
encodings, but that's not the reality today.

> If the definition of the iconv virtual state machine is modified,
> you need to do extra care on update (delete old charset files,
> install new lib, install new charset files, restart system) ...
> but this is only required on a major update. As soon as the

Even if there were really good reasons for the design you're
proposing, such a violation of the stability and atomic upgrade policy
would require a strong overriding justification. We don't have that


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