Ladies and Gentlemen of the Tomcat and Midrange-Java communities:

We're having a weird problem with character encoding in a Tomcat webapp.

We've added an interface to GMail to our webapp, and we've got, just for our own development, testing, and production use, instances of that webapp running in three different Tomcat 7 servers: one running on an IBM Midrange box (an E4A, running V6R1, with Tomcat running on a Java 6 JVM), one running on a Windows box, and the third running on a Linux (CentOS) box.

On the Midrange box, the traffic between us and GMail is getting garbled (Chinese characters appear, seemingly at random), with an apparent character encoding conflict. On the Linux box, it isn't. Not sure about the Windows box.

Now, on the Midrange box, it's a fairly straightforward process to look at the Java System Properties for a JVM. For the JVM Tomcat is running in, "Initial Java System Properties" shows
file.encoding 'ISO8859_1'
and "Current Java System Properties" shows
os.encoding 'ISO8859-1'
sun.jnu.encoding 'ISO8859-1' 'UnicodeBig'
ibm.system.encoding 'ISO8859-1'
file.encoding 'ISO8859_1'

I found JConsole and JVisualVM on the Linux box, and while I couldn't find system properties in JConsole, I could in JVisualVM. I have:

Can somebody enlighten me on whether this is the cause of the encoding issue with Google, and what to do about it?


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