>> Currently the encoding ASCII-8BIT "means" ascii and binary.
>
> No. ASCII-8BIT means ASCII compatible 8bit string; it has 256 characters.

I believe it actually means two things, depending on context, no?


> No. ASCII-8BIT is not a default in Ruby.
> You may confused by the fact that rb_str_new returns ASCII-8BIT string
> and old extension library returns such strings.

BINARY is the default, when you pass an encoding of nil...seems like
it's the default..
Apparently BINARY means "unencoded bytes" which happens to be the same
encoding as ASCII-8BIT

>> Beginners have no idea what ASCII-8BIT means.     
>> BINARY.
>
> ASCII-8BIT is different from the thing people will imagine by the name
> "BINARY",
> even if it aliased as BINARY.

Good point, actually.  I take back my suggestion.

However it is a bit confusing to have binary data (File.binread 'x')
and have it come back to you as ASCII-8BIT.  A jpeg image, for
example, is *not really* ASCII-8BIT.  It happens to have the same
encoding, however.

...
> The name "BINARY" can't express it is ASCII-compatible.

I think that the ambiguity is that "ASCII-8BIT" typically means "just
some data--it might be a string, it might be binary" so it's hard to
have a good name for its encoding.

Maybe we can call it ASCII-8BIT-BINARY? Or maybe UNKNOWN or
UNSPECIFIED or something...

I'd be ok with that.  We could alias the others...

Thoughts?
-rp