Robert K. wrote in post #988404:
> --------------------------------------------------- IO#external_encoding
>       io.external_encoding   => encoding
>
>       From Ruby 1.9.1
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>       Returns the Encoding object that represents the encoding of the
>       file. If io is write mode and no encoding is specified, returns
>       +nil+.
>
> I'd say it means that the default encoding is used.

No, it doesn't.

> Apparently the file *is* encoded in UTF-8 because I can read it without
> errors

ruby 1.9 does not give errors if you read a file which is not UTF-8 
encoded with the external encoding is UTF-8. You will just get strings 
with valid_encoding? false.

It will give errors if you attempt UTF-8 regexp matches on the data 
though.

The rules for which methods give errors and which don't are pretty odd. 
For example, string[n] doesn't give an exception, even if the string is 
invalid.

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