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6. Browsing the Cyrillic Web

Unlike e-mail and news, there is no definitive standard for Cyrillic encoding for the Web. This is primarily because Microsoft offers Web authoring tools, which only allow cp1251 codeset for Cyrillic, completely ignoring the fact that any other standards may already exist.

The setup described here is very basic. It will allow you to view pages in the KOI8-R codeset. If the situation improves, I'll add more information.

6.1 lynx

As of version 2.6, you may select the appropriate encoding for the display Character set option.

6.2 Netscape navigator

Make sure you are using Netscape version higher than 3. If your Netscape is older, download a new one from

Basic setup

To be able to see Cyrillic text in most parts of the HTML document, do the following:

NOTE: This setup will work with most parts of the document. However, you won't be able to display Cyrillic text in the window header, menus and some controls. Attempts to fix it follows.

Cyrillic text in frames and input areas

To fix this, it is usually enough to:

  1. Copy the Netscape properties database (usually to ~/Netscape.
  2. In the latter file, set the following property:
    *documentFonts.charset*iso8859-1:           koi8-r

This will force all frame and input elements to use the fonts with koi8-r encoding instead of the default ones, therefore you have to make sure you have installed such fonts (see section xfonts).

The bad news about the trick above is that if you load a document which is supposed to be displayed in iso-8859-1 fonts, it will be displayed using the koi8 fonts instead. Sometimes such documents will look worse.

Advanced setup

Andrew A. Chernov is the one, who knows more than others about KOI-8 in general and netscape in particular. Visit his excellent KOI-8 page and download a patch for Netscape resource file, making Netscape speak Russian as much as it is able to.

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