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International M6 Status Page

by Katsuhiko Momoi
Last Update: 5/27/99

This page tracks the progress of M6 International features.  By the time M6 is completed, this page should have all the M6 features and testing hints. If you are interested in what has been completed in the prior Milestone. Visit the M5 international status and testing hints page. Much of this page also has been released as M6 International Release information. But this page will be list further update on the M6 information.

M6 International features that have been completed:


  • If you have used an earlier version of Mozilla 5.0, we recommend that you delete the file called mozregistry.dat (Win) or registry (Unix/Mac) before you run M6 apprunner. (Don't delete Netscape Registry file for Mac, which is for Communicator 4.x.)  This will avoid unnecessary problems/crashes in some cases. Read the section in the M6 Release Notes called Files Used or Created to find out where you can find these files.
  • Also read the Installation instructions for your platform carefully in M6 Release Notes.
  • HTML Meta Charset handling: has been greatly improved! There is no longer need to reload after a page has displayed. If a page has a correct Meta Charset tag, it will be displayed correctly on the first load.
  • On Mac: Multi-font rendering code has been re-written to improve on display performance. We would like people to seriously look at web pages with M6. We are very interested in performance/speed issues in loading with M6. If there are performance issues, write to us.
  • View | Character Set menu:  You can switch to different encoding when encountering a page which does not have a  meta charset tag. You will not see a checkmark next to the menu item yet , however.
    • On Mac, some menu items were dimmed in M5 due to the limitation on the number a Mac menu can carry. This problem was fixed in M6 and now all the menu items are visible and enabled.
    • The list is currently too long and unwieldy -- overall charset menu specs are under consideration.
      • On Unix, there is no scrollable menu yet in GTK. Thus the Character set menu items may not be all visible if your monitor screen size is 17 or 15 inches. For those people, we would like to offer temporary workaround with reorganized menus.  These modifications on navigator.xul,mailshell.xul, and msgcompose.xul can be found here.  They have been tested to work on a 15-inch monitor screen. Please use the ".txt" files which contain just the International menu modifications for each of the .xul files. The .xul files there were from the 5/21/99 Linux build and posted simply as an example of how the whole thing looks. If you would like to see what these modifications look like on the Browser window, here is an GIF image. Note that the single menu has been split into 6 sub menus.
      • Alternatively you can edit these files yourself to suit your needs using what you find at the above site as an example. Look for a section which begins: <menu name="Default Character Set"> or  <menu name="Character Set"> and place the Character set items you want to the top of the list. You will find the 3 files to modify in the locations below:
        • Starting at where the apprunner binary is located: ../res/samples/navigator.xul
        • Starting at where the apprunner binary is located: ../res/mailnews/messenger/mailshell.xul
        • Starting at where the apprunner binary is located: ../res/mailnews/compose/msgcompose.xul
    • On some NT4 machines, reloading may not work. This problem will be addressed when the new NetLib code becomes available.  As a workaround:
      • If you have one of these machines, switch the View | Character Set menu before you go to the next site. Hopefully you know ahead of time what charset the page is using.)  If you experience the same problem of not being able to reload, please let us know and provide info on whether or not your problem is reproducible.
  • Improving muilti-font rendering on Win:
    • Some bugs fixes were performed.
    • No additional converters for M6:
  • On Linux -- because we have not completed GFX Multi-font rendering part yet, display works only for Latin1 and Japanese at the moment. Not much change from M4 here.


  • Input method - on Windows, some improvements were made to make it easier to use Japanese IME. More improvements are coming.


  • Some do-it-yourself localization is now possible. Not much change in the following items from M5.
    • XUL/XML/RDF files assume the default charset to be in UTF-8. If you change UI strings to your favorite language, they should show OK as long as the localized files use UTF-8 charset. (You can change menus to Japanese, for example, in res/samples/navigator.xul file and then convert the file to UTF-8 charset.) The menu items generally cannot be in languages your system does not support, e.g.  no Japanese menu for US Windows is possible at the moment.
    • Limitation: you cannot use charsets other than UTF-8 yet since XML parser support of general entities in the external DTD files is yet to be done. Although it is possible to have resource files for Mozilla to be in charsets other than UTF-8, keep in mind that Mozilla will be standardizing on UTF-8 for  resource files.
Mail/News (Windows only):
  • Preferences file: prefs50.js
    • Mail (POP & IMAP) and News viewing does not work unless you have a correct prefs50.js file in the correct location for your platform. Read this page and set up the correct preferences before you do any mail testing. For the location of the prefs50.js file, read the installation instructions for your platform in M6 Release Notes.
    • In addition to the general preferences items, international users should also add the following 3 lines to the prefs50.js. The first controls HTML/Plain Text mail option, the second and the third are musts for sending out properly MIME-encoded mail body and headers, respectively. If you want to send HTML mail, set the first option's value to "true". For M6, our default is Plain Text since HTML mail has problems for some languages. See below for more.
      • user_pref("mail.identity.id1.send_html", false);       // note that "id1" refers to the first account. If you have multiple accounts, change "1" to appropriate numbers, e.g. "id2", etc.
      • user_pref("mail.strictly_mime", true);
      • user_pref("mail.strictly_mime_headers", true);
    • To get your POP mail working, it is best to have a small starter Inbox file in the Mail directory you specified in prefs50.js file. We have such a starter Inbox file for you here. Get this file called 5.0firstinbox and rename it to Inbox and put it in your Mail directory.
    • POP option is for leaving mail behind on the server after the messages have been downloaded from the server. We recommend that you use a test mail account for this purpose rather than using your regular mail account.
  • International Sorting in Thread pane headers: is now working. Sorting is done according to the sort default for the language of your operating system. Please test this for your language/OS and see if sorting is satisfactory.
  • International Date/Time format: is now working. It uses the default for your operating system's locale. The effect should be visible in the thread pane date/time headers. Please check out this features for your language/OS!
  • Multi-lingual mail viewing:  Not much change from M5.
    • If you have a multilingual font or several fonts which together cover the Unicode ranges (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Korean fonts + Pan-European fonts), we use them in displaying mail messages and headers for all the languages we support. We pay attention to the charset parameter in the Content-Type header and switch to an appropriate font. The Encoding menu is not needed to switch to different language views unless the message you're viewing is incorrectly labeled. If you would like a basic mono-weight multi-lingual font, you can get Bitstream Cyberbit font 2.0 here.
    • View | Character Set menu is currently not working to override wrong MIME charset label.  It can be used to view msgs which have no MIME charset specified, however.
    • On some Windows machines, for an unknown reason, Message Pane header and body display may go wrong for non-ASCII messages containing 8-bit headers and body. This problem is sporadic and on most machines we looked at, the problem does not occur at all.  If you encounter a reproducible set of steps, please let us know.
    • Attachments should be viewable if they are of the same charset as the main body of the mail. Other charsets are not supported yet.
  • View | Character Set menu for New Mail Compose window is now working for sending mail for many additional languages. Switch to the charset you want to compose a message in and then compose the message.  You will not see a checkmark next to the menu item yet , however. We need a lot of people testing different charsets we put in for M6!
  • Sending Latin 1 mail: Works in both HTML and Plain text.
    • Copy/paste accented characters into the headers and  body works
    • Keyboard input into headers (e.g. subject) also works for accented characters. Using the English keyboard, ALTGr + 0+Number Keypad method works, e.g. Right ALT key + 0232.
    • Make sure to switch the View | Character Set  to Latin 1 before you send out a message.
    • Basic MIME compliance is there: Header Q encoding, and Body QP encoding for accented characters.
  • Sending Japanese mail: works only in Plain text. HTML mail body disappears upon "send".
    • Basic/primitive Japanese input now works. The mail composer body can retain Japanese input.  Japanese input/copying  into Subject header does not work yet, however. We are awaiting the arrival of new Ender/Editor widgets for this feature.
    • Mail goes out in ISO-2022-JP. (The Kanji-in escape sequence is that of JISX0208-1976, however. )
    • Make sure to switch the View | Character Set  to Japanese (ISO-2022-JP) before you send out a message.
  • Sending other charset mail -- is now enabled. Please try out these new charsets! For example, UTF-8 is working now.
    • Though the mail text body can sense what keyboard you have selected and will switch font accordingly, there may be mapping bugs with some international keyboards and so there is no guarantee that correct characters will be input. Copy/paste may work better. Let us know what you find if you try this.
  • Reply/Forward: is basically working but there seem to be some display bugs in the new mail composer. You may not always see the characters displayed properly in  your language though mail general arrives correctly.
  • IMAP Mail: is working now, but not much international testing has been done to determine how well. You can change the server type to "imap" from "POP3" to indicate that the server in question is of IMAP type in your prefs50.js file.
  • Viewing News: is working. We have done some  international testing on this. In principle, multilingual news articles viewing should work if they have correct MIME charsets indicated in the articles. Be warned, however, that newsgroups postings are not always MIME-compliant and this could defeat our charset honoring mechanism.


International features yet to be completed:

  • No CJK IME support on Mac and Linux.
  • Linux can only view Latin and Japanese.
  • No Japanese Auto-Detect.
  • No posting non-ASCII forms data.
  • No CJK printing on Linux.
  • HTTP charset won't be handled.