Up to this day, WordPress continuated the b2 way of using iso-8859-1 as default. You could set a $admin_area_charset variable to ‘utf-8’ or whatever charset you wanted, but you still had to hardcode your preferred charset in the default template (and the comments popup’s) and in the login/register area.
No more hardcoding. Yesterday support for choosing your charset has been added to WordPress’s incoming 1.1 release, so now it’s only a matter of going straight to the General Options screen.
( I’d like to take this occasion to congratulate the WP team for their options handling. While I thought it was overkill, it’s actually very well thought: adding this option was only a matter of adding a row to the ‘wp_options’ table in the database, and editing files to make them use $blog_charset instead of iso-8859-1. The options backend takes care of validating the input too, so no more “let’s make sure they entered a string of that max length” or “let’s make sure it’s a number and not a string”, since you defined these in the row you added to the options table. )