How to set up X Window Netscape v4 for KOI8-R

Tuning description

Red! Netscape v4.8 has KOI8-R support but with a few serious bugs.

In Navigator choose Cyrillic (koi8-r) in Edit|Preferences|Appearance|Fonts|For the Encoding. Chose Times (Cronyx) in Variable Width Font and Courier (Cronyx) in Fixed Width Font.

Do not set Cyrillic(KOI8-R) in View|Encoding as the permanent default encoding scheme (don't Set Default). This violates HTML and HTTP standards which state that the default document encoding (without any special instructions) is ISO8859-1. Making KOI8-R the default temporarily may be acceptable as a workaround for broken Russian pages.

In Netscape Communicator 4.06 (or higher) they finally implement viewing windows-1251 pages using installed koi8-r fonts, just switch View|Encoding to Cyrillic (Windows-1251) in that case.

This version not allows to change E-mail charset via user interface, but it is possible to do it manually. Edit your ~/.netscape/preferences.js file (created after you run Netscape first time) and find following line there

user_pref("intl.font_charset", "iso-8859-1");
then change last argument to koi8-r, i.e.
user_pref("intl.font_charset", "koi8-r");
if such line not present, just add it.

This version not allows to change Accept-Charset via user interface, but it is possible to do it manually. Edit your ~/.netscape/preferences.js file (created after you run Netscape first time) and add following line there

user_pref("intl.accept_charsets", "koi8-r;q=1.0;iso-8859-1;q=0.1,utf-8;q=0.1");
it allows automatically select KOI8-R encoding for some HTTPD servers which implements this part of standard.

See also the paper describing how to print Russian documents from Netscape (in Russian).


Bug List:
  • Even Netscape have HTTP header charset over <META ...> charset priority (with few bugs) View|Page Info still show <META ...> charset. See this page for test (check View|Page Info for Charset value, koi8-r must be there instead of windows-1251).

  • It is impossible to change E-mail charset value by View|Encoding command. It always have iso-8859-1 value no matter what encoding is used. Also it is possible to do it manually by editing user_pref("intl.font_charset", ...); line in ~/.netscape/preferences.js, novice users can't use such hidden features. Missing E-mail charset setup with choosed default value iso-8859-1 causes serious problems with Russian E-mail, making it totally unreadable.

  • It is impossible to change Accept-Charset value by View|Encoding command as promised into Release Notes (even after Set Default). It always shows iso-8859-1,*,utf-8 no matter what encoding used. Also it is possible to do it manually by adding user_pref("intl.accept_charsets", ...); line to ~/.netscape/preferences.js, novice users can't use such hidden features. Missing Accept-Charset setup with choosed default value iso-8859-1,*,utf-8 causes serious problems with HTTPDs with automatic charset detection. Moreover, Accept-Charset value must indicate not current encoding only but all encodings which the browser can handle in case server implements only selected subset of them. For example something like koi8-r;q=1.0,iso-8859-1;q=0.1,utf-8;q=0.1 would be preferable for use in Russia.

  • This version always shows Russian Mail/News Subjects using wrong ISO-8859-1 font instead of KOI8-R one. When New Message entered, Netscape use wrong encoding for Subject line, ISO-8859-1 instead of KOI8-R, even if current encoding is set to KOI8-R.