[svlug] Email length
marc_news at valinux.com
Sun May 14 23:56:46 PDT 2000
On Thu, May 11, 2000 at 03:07:14PM -0700, Robert Mayssat wrote:
> rfc2646 ( http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/rfc/rfc2646.txt )
> states that text/plain standard must support 997 char / line,
> and that 80 is just a convention ( not the standard ! ).
Since you seem to like RFCs, you should know that wording is very important.
The exact quote is:
3. The Problem
The Text/Plain media type is the lowest common denominator of Internet
email, with lines of no more than 997 characters (by convention usually
no more than 80), and where the CRLF sequence represents a line break
This says that you can't have a line of more than 997 characters, and IHO,
it only says so because of GUI mailers that don't give a shit about internet
conventions and people who happen to use another mailer than the one being
written by the company that thinks it's cute to have one line per paragraph
No where does it say "MUAs MUST support text/plain attachments of at least
997 characters", it doesn't even say "SHOULD".
What does this mean? that the above quote doesn't say much useful, except
reminding that the convention/standard is no more than 80 chars/line.
(note too that MUAs that do one line per paragraph in no way restrict their
lines to 997 chars)
The one line per paragraph crap came for misguided programmers who thought
that it was the only way to nicely type Email and edit lines without
worrying about typing enter at the end of lines, or tediously reformat a
paragraph by hand when you add or remove words after it's already been cut
to 76 chars/line.
The fact is that it is hogwash because that's what par(1) is for (or fmt or
the built in format command in vim or emacs). Besides, even netscape can
quite nicely wrap lines at 76 chars/line without user intervention....
As it was recently mentionned on nanog, characteristics of Emails like:
- X-Mailer: outlook
- X-Mailer: MS-whatever
- signature of more than 4 lines
- lines of more than 76 characters
... are very convenient ways to score messages (i.e. to trash posts from users
you don't need to read posts from)
La culture, c'est comme la confiture...
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