"...Smart quotes are considered bad manners among many
people, even people who wouldn't touch anything besides Microsoft
software. Web design pages that address the existence of the smart
quote usually include tips on how to turn off smart quotes in
assorted HTML-producing or -exporting software so as to avoid an
appearance of thoughtlessness or (worse, on the Web) blithe
ignorance of the (strict standards compliance|impoverishment) of
More than bad manners, an attempt to take over the Web, or
badges of a content author's ignorance, smart quotes are, or were,
the "Microsoft detectors" of the Linux world: liberal sprinklings
of question marks throughout a document are, or were, a dead
giveaway that a Microsoft product was present somewhere in the
production pipeline. The reaction of many who start noticing them
around the web once they make the move to Linux is vaguely akin to
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper's in John Carpenter's They Live as he dons his
special alien-spotting glasses and realizes the world is in the
grip of a vast conspiracy of skeletoid monsters. The effect is
amplified when they visit a few sites that trumpet independence
from Microsoft products but show the tell-tales of the conspiracy
to destroy the web right on their own pages.
On a Linux site, the presence of smart quotes are often cause
for severe reactions. A site like LinuxToday, which is 90%
cut-and-pasted content from all over the Web, has to be especially
careful because sites vary wildly even internally when it comes to
their use of smart quotes, and it's easy to miss a single tell-tale
question mark in the midst of three or four paragraphs of text,
especially when you spend all day reading sites that require you
subconsciously substitute the appropriate characters.
Sadly, though, it's time to note that the days of curly quotes
and their mis-rendering on a Linux browser as an indicator of OS
purity are over, depending on the tool that produced them and
depending on your browser."
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