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Dave Greenberg:

> * Some versions of MySQL use latin-1-swedish as the default collation.
> If Drupal tables are created in these versions - they will carry that
> collation. What version of MySQL are u running?

Actually, all MySQL 4.1+ versions do so, for
backward compatibility (MySQL is a Swedish database).

> * I don't know of a batch way to change the collations of
> all tables in a DB in phpMyAdmin - altho there may be one.

It's enough to change the collation of the database
(the collation information is inherited unless redefined):

ALTER DATABASE `drupal` COLLATE utf8_general_ci;

(Or utf8_unicode_ci - see [1] for details.)

The question is what's the impact of such change on Drupal's (and
its modules') contents. From what I gather, Drupal should use UTF-8
everywhere, so the above change should actually be a good thing (and
should be done on Drupal install). AFAIK, Drupal doesn't do this because
this would be a MySQL-specific change, and they want to have the diff
between MySQL, PostgreSQL and other backends as small as possible (on
one hand, I can't blame them; on the other - using MySQL with UTF-8 data
while telling it it's ISO-8859-1 can backfire in very mysterious ways).

> * If you aren't planning on using i18n features in CiviCRM - you can
> install it with the MySQL 4.0 table create script (civicrm_40.mysql) .
> This doesn't specify the utf-8 collation - so will use the default in
> MySQL.

On MySQL 4.1, this will simply make the MySQL database default to
ISO-8859-1 character set and latin1_swedish_ci collation (the same
Drupal ends up with, as it does not declare anything). Again, as CiviCRM
uses UTF-8 everywhere, this is not good (nor proper), but if you're not
using accented characters, it shouldn't backfire.

(Sample backfiring: when one uses UTF-8, but tells MySQL it's
ISO-8859-1, the letter =C5=81 gets mysteriously mangled. Sometimes.
Which can be a bit frustrating if one has a girlfriend in the
Polish city of =C5=81=C3=B3d=C5=BA, like some of us.) ;o)

So, to sum it up, I'm leaning toward recommending
ALTER DATABASE `drupal` COLLATE utf8_general_ci;
and asking for reports from anyone for whom this didn't
work. (Of course the database name can be different,
and most probably is in most installs of CivicSpace.)

[1] http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/4.1/en/charset-unicode-sets.html

-- Shot
                  I wanted to be Superman, but all I got were
                  these special powers of self-deprecation.
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