gedit: character encoding

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gedit: character encoding

Postby Liza on Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:50 am

Hi all,

I've spent about three working hours on this problem:

When I try to open a LaTeX file that was written by a colleague on MacOS, I get the error message:

gedit has not been able to detect the character encoding.
Please check that you are not trying to open a binary file.
Select a character encoding from the menu and try again.

And then gedit plainly refuses to open the file. I've tried every available encoding, and nothing works. It seems that Mac OS uses some different UTF-8 encoding than the rest of the world. :evil:

However, what I really expect from a good text editor is to tolerate small corruptions in a text file and open it anyway. That's what I was used to at Mac OS, for example. This issue has been reported to gedit team since 2006 (just google for the error message), and the last report I found dates on July 2011, and it still remains. I spent three working hours on it. THREE. Sorry for shouting, but that is exactly how I feel.

So I guess there is no sense in submitting this to gedit developers again. I just wanted to tell my bit about this. Dear Mint developers, please be kind and use some other text editor as default editor in your system. If you want people that are not experts to use Mint, please choose user-friendly software.

I was able to open the file in LibreOffice, and XEmacs was also quite happy to open it. Of course, if somebody knows how to fix this, you are very welcome to answer, but I somehow doubt that there is another solution apart from patching gedit. :cry:
Last edited by Liza on Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: gedit has not been able to detect the character encoding

Postby xenopeek on Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:09 am

There isn't a "one tool suits all" solution, to any application. Some other editor might open the file, but that editor may not be meet what to the majority of people need from a lightweight text editor. Gedit still beats notepad in all areas :wink: The Software Manager let's you easily install a lot of alternative text editors. Some alternatives: http://alternativeto.net/software/gedit/?profile=linux&platform=linux
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Re: gedit has not been able to detect the character encoding

Postby Liza on Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:50 am

Oh, I see. So if a Mac user gives me a perfectly normal text file that can be opened by any text editor apart from gedit, than gedit is just not the right tool. Are you being serious?

I'm not sure you are a Mint developer. I was addressing them, actually, and I'm saying this again, because I want Mint to be a good OS:

If you want "normal people" (not geeks) to use your system, then you should listen to what normal users have to say about it. What do you think?

I know people can be funny about their pet editors and other programs. They insists on vi being comfortable and things like that. :wink: However, that is not how normal users work. I have 6 hours per day for my job, after that I go to my family and cook, clean the house, talk to kids and control their homework. I do not go home and start looking for a right editor for opening a text file just because the default editor in my system could not do it.

So I expect form a default editor in my system to behave nice to me and to open all files that can be opened by other editors.

I changed from Mac to Linux because I like the idea of open source software, and because I found the hype about Apple quite unsupportable. And I chose Mint because it made to me an impression that it tries to support normal users. However, it seems to be not quite right. Most programs come without a help function, and if something does not behave as expected, then it's not bug, it's a feature. Great . :?

And accidentally, as I transferred my data from a Mac, I have many other text files that gedit cannot open, I just tried a couple. And many of my colleagues use a Mac. So I really think the gedit developers got something wrong -- and not I. I'm not the only one in the world with this issue, and I had no intention to use, say, xemacs, which requires quite a lot of time to get used to. As a normal user, I just do not have this time. And yesterday, instead of working on the document that I was trying to open with gedit, I spent my working time looking for a fix (there is no), and finally looking for another editor. This is not a way for a moderately comfortable operating system to behave.

A default text editor should be able to open all text files.

To Vincent: thank you for the link to the alternatives. Still, I hope you now understand what I mean.
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Re: gedit has not been able to detect the character encoding

Postby dagon on Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:15 am

gedit doesn't have latex by default:
http://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/12729/gedit-missing-link-texlive#12730
http://live.gnome.org/Gedit/LaTeXPlugin

or

Code: Select all
sudo apt-get install gedit-latex-plugin
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Re: gedit has not been able to detect the character encoding

Postby Liza on Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:11 am

Please, read carefully what I wrote before. A LaTeX file is just a plain text file and should be opened by any text editor. I'm not talking of support for LaTeX (which works fine in gedit, by the way).
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Re: gedit has not been able to detect the character encoding

Postby xenopeek on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:00 am

Liza wrote:To Vincent: thank you for the link to the alternatives. Still, I hope you now understand what I mean.

I understand what you mean. But I repeat that there is no single text editor that will suit all purposes for all persons, however much we would all like that.

Your problem seems specific to the file your received. Even without the LaTeX plugin Gedit is indeed able to open a LaTex file and Gedit is also able to open a OS X text file without problems. Without you suggesting some alternative, I'm not sure what the Linux Mint team can do about this.
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Re: gedit has not been able to detect the character encoding

Postby Liza on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:57 am

Vincent, if you google for the specific mistake that I get, you will find out that many text files by many other users cannot be opened, and this issue persists since 2006. I's nothing to do with LaTeX. Gedit just cannot deal with some text files.

I have two suggestions to the Mint team:

1. Use some other editor as default, but I don't know which
2. Alternatively, get gedit developers to finally fix this issue. The issue is that the editor should be able to open the files even if there are some characters inside that do not fit any known character encoding. That is what emacs seems to be doing, as well as LibreOffice.

Really, I'm trying hard to explain the matter, but I somehow get the impression that people do not listen.

Anyway, this is only intended for developers if they care about it. If not, I cannot do anything else about it and the issue is going to remain unsolved forever.
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Re: gedit has not been able to detect the character encoding

Postby xenopeek on Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:31 am

Sorry, but you had posted this in the Support > Software & Applications forum, so dagon and I made some suggestions on steps you could take to resolve this. If you have a suggestion for future releases of Linux Mint, please post those in this forum: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewforum.php?f=29. (Or perhaps a moderator can move this post.)

The root bugreport on Gedit for this is here: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=156199. As you say, a lot of people have a problem with Gedit not being able to open files with non-standard character encodings, and this issue has been around since 2004 at least. If you use UTF, there won't be any problems. But using text files made with applications or on operating systems that don't use UTF, this is a problem. Modern applications and operating systems as a rule use UTF, so this is a legacy issue. Still, I agree it is annoying.
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Re: gedit has not been able to detect the character encoding

Postby Liza on Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:40 am

Well, I thought about bugzilla, but it seems not to make sense to post this bug as it is well known already. So I hoped that somebody involved in gedit might read it here, or somebody involved in Mint might decide not to use gedit as a standard text editor, as I consider it not user-friendly to do so. Probably I should have said right at the beginning about the main purpose of this post, sorry about it.

I think there is no need in further discussion, at least for me. Thanks for answering. If a moderator could move this post, I will be grateful. I didn't see that there is a special forum for future releases, thanks.
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Re: gedit has not been able to detect the character encoding

Postby dagon on Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:38 am

Liza wrote:Please, read carefully what I wrote before.

But theres so many words there... :?

I get what you're saying now and that's a really annoying bug. I also think that it answers questions I've
had myself about gedit behavior with other files. But it's probably more an issue on how to talk to
programmers than anything else. I've done bugreports and bumped bugs myself at gnome bugzilla and
nothing would happen so that would just be a waste of time. Spontaneously it looks like a rather simple
thing to fix too.
Last edited by dagon on Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [NO SOLUTION, DISCUSSION FINISHED] gedit: character enco

Postby dcihon on Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:02 am

I can't help it but to chime in here.
I understand the frustration but also understand the world you are in.
This is the Linux world and for the most part all people here are volunteering their time and effort for free.
Other OS's charge money for their operating system and software they create. They pay people to fix bugs and issues.
I think if it takes 12 years to fix a problem that is not a big deal in this Linux world. I appreciate everyone's efforts to help us out.
We all have other lives to live.
Linux is all about freedom to choose what you want. There are so many alternatives to software it is mind boggling.
I am on my second Distro and I will never go back to Windows as my main OS.
I try to use it for everything I do, and generally unless a piece of software is only written for Windows I will use Linux for whatever task I am doing.
I support Windows at my job and at this point I can't change everyone to a LInux system but one day I might. Won't that be great.
Well I have said enough. Thanks for listening to me rant.
Keep up the good work that all is doing.
I for one appreciate it. I wish there was more I could do.
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Re: [NO SOLUTION, DISCUSSION FINISHED] gedit: character enco

Postby ThistleWeb on Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:52 pm

LaTeX is a specialised format that most users have never heard of, and those who have picture shiny rubber like fabric at the word. Mint is aimed at general users, Gedit works fine for that. There's little point in angling for a different default editor, or should I say that if there is, the reason would need to be a valid one; not a minority use case. There is nothing to stop you from installing any text editor you like and setting it as the default on your install.

The idea of "this file was created on _insert proprietary binary standards compliant OS here_ so we should chase our tails trying to be fully compliant doesn't wash. Both Apple and Microsoft have whole teams ensuring vendor lock-in, in part by file incompatibilities. They either use their own binary formats and keep the secret of how to open, modify them or save them so that consumers create a huge catalogue of files that don't work on other OS's. When they use "standards" they often extend those standards with proprietary "features" or "tweaks" which have a similar effect.

Your thread is the predicted and expected result. "It works on Mac OS, it doesn't work on Linux so Linux is broken; fix Linux". Has it occurred to you that perhaps the files you're trying to open aren't in a standard LaTeX encoding? That maybe Apple have some tweaks to make it different enough from the proper standards without being open about it, that it throws up errors?

Microsoft Office with .doc is a classic example, or Microsoft's own bastardisation of html so that web developers have to go to great lengths to build sites that work on IE, knowing all along that IE is not standards compliant. If you use proper standards compliant software to create those documents, they will work as intended, if you don't you have to deal with the parent companies games.

As far as getting influencing anything in any community, attitude goes a long way one way or the other.
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Re: [NO SOLUTION, DISCUSSION FINISHED] gedit: character enco

Postby Liza on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:00 pm

I just tried to help, that's all. if you choose to answer without having read carefully what I have written before, that is your issue, not mine.

Just some points:

1. Others have these issue with Gedit, too. Have you googled for this error message?

2. This happens to many text files. LaTeX has nothing to do with it. See point 1. Do you understand what I mean?

3. I never wrote that Linux was broken. However, if Emacs and LibreOffice ON LINUX can open a file, but Gedit cannot, than I say that there is something wrong with Gedit. Don't you?

You don't need to answer these questions, as it seems that you did not read this thread before you posted your reply.
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Re: [NO SOLUTION, DISCUSSION FINISHED] gedit: character enco

Postby Liza on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:17 pm

Thanks for this kind reply. I'm going to unsubscribe from this topic, so you and people like you can exercise their rudeness without me having to watch them.
[EDIT: Removed unnecessary sarcastic and rude remark that is referenced here - proxima_centauri]

@dcihon: you seem to be a beginner just like me, and, well, thanks for your reply. I agree with you, and I know about volunteers and so on. And as I'm not a developer, the only way I can help to make this particular OS better is to point out things that do not work, or work poorly. Okay, before more rude replies come this way, I'm moving to better tasks and things. :) I decided to learn Emacs, God help me. :roll:
Last edited by Liza on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [NO SOLUTION, DISCUSSION FINISHED] gedit: character enco

Postby dagon on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:22 pm

Edited: removed quote

Liza is just poining out a fact about Gedit. It doesn't work with certain file-types. Her point is valid. There is an open bug report and more than one duplicate of that bugreport.
It's not asking for the editor to browse the web but to have it, kid you not, open a plain text file.
Last edited by dagon on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [NO SOLUTION, DISCUSSION FINISHED] gedit: character enco

Postby dcihon on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:25 pm

Liza wrote:
However, what I really expect from a good text editor is to tolerate small corruptions in a text file and open it anyway. That's what I was used to at Mac OS, for example. This issue has been reported to gedit team since 2006 (just google for the error message), and the last report I found dates on July 2011, and it still remains. I spent three working hours on it. THREE. Sorry for shouting, but that is exactly how I feel.

So I guess there is no sense in submitting this to gedit developers again. I just wanted to tell my bit about this. Dear Mint developers, please be kind and use some other text editor as default editor in your system. If you want people that are not experts to use Mint, please choose user-friendly software.



This is not rude. Hmmmmmm
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Re: [NO SOLUTION, DISCUSSION FINISHED] gedit: character enco

Postby lmintnewb on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:30 pm

Understood that ... mentioned just in a lower tolerance kinda mindset atm. This thread just struck me as one of the gazillion you're sure to come across in any gnu/nix forum. People seem to take much for granted in my view and then pass it off as "trying to help". Specifically mentions the oh so important 3hrs she chose to spend looking into a known bug. When 3,302 other text editors could've been installed from the repo in 20 secs. For that matter apparently software that was perfectly capable to opening the file was already installed by default.

What about the 3,300 hrs the LM devs probably spent/spend pouring over software selection and etc. ? Just sayin ... is all. Shrugs.

:D

PS, + What dcihon and others offered as opinions here. Am obviously not the only one who took this thread as something other than a well intentioned suggestion to improve Mint's software ... More shrugs. Not that it's a big deal either way, no offense meant to you or the OP. Just aired my opinion about the situation.
Last edited by lmintnewb on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [NO SOLUTION, DISCUSSION FINISHED] gedit: character enco

Postby Liza on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:30 pm

dcihon wrote:
Liza wrote: THREE. Sorry for shouting, but that is exactly how I feel.



This is not rude. Hmmmmmm


You got me there. :oops: However, as you can notice, I was really tired and frustrated, and I apologized at the same post.
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Re: [NO SOLUTION, DISCUSSION FINISHED] gedit: character enco

Postby proxima_centauri on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:31 pm

* Moved topic as per OP's request
I have edited the thread to remove unnecessary, sarcastic and rude remarks.
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Re: gedit: character encoding

Postby lmintnewb on Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:38 pm

How about a group hug folks ? It's not that serious ... :D
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