Proposal 1

Multilingual Email Clients - A Test

Proposed by: Yuri Demchenko, TERENA WG-I18N / WG-MSG

1. Summary of proposal

The projects aims to obtain a list of mail UAs, with a table stating if these UAs are actually correctly working when configured for different national character sets. Special set of composite multilingual test messages will be designed for testing multiple languages support in mail UAs. Founding of 12000 ECU is requested for ten man months (over ten months period, ending October-November 1998) to perform a testing of popular Mail UAs for multilingual support, producing report and presenting it at TERENA event.

2. Project Description

This project will attempt to test some of the more common problems that have been seen in various products, and document these to the community so that the community can choose between good-quality products and not waste time and money buying or testing products that lack basic functionality.

Sometimes multilingual support of E-mail users agents interfere with used multilingual support of OS platform, particularly, language setting. Some multilingual oriented MUAs use internal encoding/transcoding scheme that is not flexible and doesnít allow to set up national charsets.

Therefore another goal of the project is to propose basic test scheme for testing multilingual support of MUA. This part of the project will collect experience of local volunteer test teams and local problems with languages support by popular MUAs.

Optionally, local E-mail encoding practice will be described (if itíll be find by local teams necessary). These cases have place in countries that has/use different charset encoding for their languages as it is used for Russian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian languages in FSU (DOS, Windows, UNIX, Macintosh, etc.) and have place in Central European Countries like Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republik, Hungary etc.

The work actions of the project would be:

  1. design a set of composite multilingual test messages for testing multiple languages support in mail Uas.
  2. install each different UA
  3. configure it for all supported national characters sets and test it sending the complete set around, including itself
  4. compile the table with "pass/fail/maybe" providing where itís possible commentaries for last statement "maybe" (analysing how MUA composes, sends, receives and displays test messages)
  5. compile a final report.

The basic test setup will be:

        Implementation   ----->    Message
        Under                      inspector/   <-- set of the test messages 
        Test            <-----     constructor

The tests will be performed in at least 2 character sets, one of which is ISO 8859-1, and the other of which includes characters not found in US-ASCII or ISO 8859-1. Some other combinations of comparative testing with setting up other than ISO 8859-1 default character set will be considered during the work.

Additional tests will be provided for MUAsí Unicode UTF-8/UTF-7 support and, particularly, correctness of their internal transfer scheme between Unicode and non-Unicode charsets.

The test messages are:

The choice of characters is up to the tester, but messages tmsg3 and tmsg4 should include the full character repertoire in the body, if possible.

The tests that are to be performed are:

For each test, the tester grades it as "pass/fail/maybe".

The result of the test for each product tested may be documented like this:

Product: EmDarling 3.27 Beta from Darling Software under Windows 95
Product Contact:
Environment: OS (name, version), correspondent Language supplement
Test date: 1997-11-01
Charset 8859-1 KOI8-R ISO 8859/2 ****
Rec 1 Pass Fail
Rec 2 Fail Fail
Rec 3 Pass Fail
Rec 4 Maybe(1) Maybe(1)


1. Message could be saved to file, but charset info was lost and content was not converted to local representation; could not be viewed on screen in E-mail reader.

2. Short commentary should be provided

The results will be made available over the Web.

3. Project Schedule

Item Duration Term
1. Forming International Team that will include representatives from
  • Central and Eastern Europe and FSU (Cyrillic Slavic charsets)
  • Central Europe (Latin Slavic charsets)
  • Scandinavian countries
(1 month) December 1997
2. Forming list of MUAs to be tested (including different OS platform) (1 month) December 1997
3. Testing arranged MUAs (available, Freeware and Shareware) (2 months) March-April 1998
4. Purchasing and testing some additional MUAs (3 months) May 1998
5. Preparing Intermediate report for TERENA WG meeting in March-June 1998 (1 month) May-
6. Producing report and placing it on the Web (1 month) June 1998
7. Final reporting at TERENA events September-
November 1998

4. Resource Requirements

4.1. Main principles

  1. Use MUAs available as Shareware and Freeware (recommended list and URLs is given in Appendix A)
  2. Buy popular commercial MUAs (such as Lotus cc:Mail, HP OpenMail, Digital AltaVista Mail, Microsoft Mail and News)

4.2. Direct Financial Support needed

4 000 ECU

    For 10 man/month work for 5 people (testing, production of report etc.)

3 000 ECU

    For purchasing of commercial mailers

3 000 ECU

    For attendance and presentation at relevant TERENA meetings and final report producing meeting for 3-4 persons from evaluation countries Russia, Ukraine, Slovenia, Scandinavia

5. List Of Participants

1 Yuri Demchenko

Associate Professor,
Kiev Polytechnic Institute,

Project leader,
Principal Investigator (PI)
2. Konstantin Chuguev

Ural Technical University,


Project co-leader, PI
3. Janja Faganel, Slovenia

(from Latin CE Countries)

4. PI from Scandinavian Countries


5. Andrew Stesin, System Administrator

Global Ukraine, Ukraine

7. Vadim Shevchenko,

Kiev Polytechnic Institute

8. Alexey Medvedev,

Kiev Polytechnic Institute


6. Follow-Up Projects

International character of the project and itís wide geographical range promise appearance of some topical problems caused by different languages, cultural contents and usage practice. It is expected that real results will excel outlined schedule and tasks. Notwithstanding of prospective implementation Unicode UTF-8/UTF-7 everywhere, problem with working in multiple languages and charsets environment will remain topical for a long time. Set of multilingual test messages should be documented and recommended as testbed for forthcoming MUAs for developers and users. Next project (or next activity of the project group) could deal/concern with formulating recommendation and providing guidance for wide use of Unicode and means for mail exchange between MUAs using Unicode UTF-8/UTF-7 and non-Unicode MUAs.

Appendix A.

LIST of MUAs to be tested (subject for discussion)

Microsoft Windows (NT, 3.11, 95) series
Microsoft Internet Mail and News
Netscape Mail 3.x and 4.x
CC:Mail from Lotus
Eudora by Qualcomm
Pegasus Mail by David Harris
Pronto by CommTouch Software
PC Pine from the University of Washington
The Bat!
OpenMail by HP
Dmail by Demos
PC Pine from the University of Washington
Pegasus Mail by David Harris
UNIX Terminal (open list)
UNIX GUI (with X11R6) -
Netscape Mail

* Shopping list for MUA to be tested will be defined

E-mail UAs related information: