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I gave more thought about the "[0..255] integer <-> char mapping" issue and its consequences if I adopt it in multibyte-string implementation. In short, it can be implemented in multibyte CES Scheme, and is useful in the cases such as to call C FFI that takes C 'char' argument (I think it is the original intent), and also to represent invalid octets in the input character stream. For multibyte CES that doesn't have sensible character mapping from integer range [128..255], it can use "illegal" byte sequence to represent these exceptional values. Having such a character within a string may cause some penalty: * Two strings can't be compared directly in mb implementation; since for two integers x and y, (< x y) <=> (char< (integer->char x) (integer->char y)) is required, and it's not easy to encode the characters corresponding to integers [128..255] into the illegal byte sequences with preserving the order to other codepoints. * Displaying a string can no longer directly writes out internal mb representation (which is one of main advantage having mb string), if the string contains these illegal byte sequences. But these are minimized if such a string is flagged specially, and the use of such special characters are relatively rare. I think using strings for binary I/O should be explicitly discouraged, even though an octet sequence can be represented by using such special characters. It can be very inefficient on some implementations, and it may cause problems on ports that deals with character encodings. Pure binary I/O can be done better using srfi-4 uniform vector and special binary I/O primitives. --shiro