Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 12th Apr 2012 08:59 UTC
Internet & Networking I would honestly serve at the altar of the person that did this. Keep the debugging information, but for the love of god, make your email client do something pretty and useful with it.
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Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

Then you have the whole hodge-podge of half supported "standards"

Standard compliance is pretty good these days, even in Exchange. I can't vouch for the billion badly coded email clients but that's not an email problem, that's a code-quality problem.

multiple different ways of HTML encodings, plain text

Content is encoded in exactly one way: MIME.

no native encryption

I can't think of a single modern SMTP server that doesn't support STARTTLS.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26


Standard compliance is pretty good these days, even in Exchange. I can't vouch for the billion badly coded email clients but that's not an email problem, that's a code-quality problem.

Fair point there. However I still think the standard is outdated. For example, I don't see the point in transmitting everything as ASCII - in fact I personally think base64 should die. Anything that adds ~30% overhead to each and every attachment clearly isn't a sane standard for attachment encoding.


Content is encoded in exactly one way: MIME.

MIME isn't a single encoding specification, there's a few different variants (IIRC the biggest being 7bit and 8bit)


I can't think of a single modern SMTP server that doesn't support STARTTLS.

I will grant you that the biggest part of this problem isn't with SMTP server support but more mail hosts (lazy admins) not defaulting to TLS. I can't recall where I read this, but there's still a significant amount of e-mails being transmitted between mail servers without any encryption.

I can understand why most of the WWW is unsecured (viewing -for example- BBC News with SSL could be considered overkill), however e-mails often contain personal / confidential information and thus should be encrypted by default.

Reply Parent Score: 4

saso Member since:
2007-04-18

TLS transmission on SMTP between mail servers really doesn't make much sense. What's the purpose of TLS? To add confidentiality and security. Mail servers don't care about that, the end users do. OpenPGP and S/MIME serve just this purpose and are in wide usage because of it.

It's analogous to paper mail. If I want to transmit confidential data, I sure as hell don't trust my mailman and the whole mail delivery chain to keep my secrets. I encrypt my messages at home and all I require the mail service to do is deliver them.

Reply Parent Score: 3

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

"Then you have the whole hodge-podge of half supported "standards"

Standard compliance is pretty good these days, even in Exchange. I can't vouch for the billion badly coded email clients but that's not an email problem, that's a code-quality problem.

multiple different ways of HTML encodings, plain text

Content is encoded in exactly one way: MIME.
"

But, is that Microsoft's implementation of MIME? A non-MS implementation of MIME?

What about those still using "quoted-printable" instead?

And what about those using TNEF instead of MIME?

And is that using MS pseudo-HTML? Or real HTML? Or someone else's bastardised HTML (like FirstClass mail)?

There's not "1 single, standard method" for encoding even the text in an e-mail, let alone the "HTML" formatting, or even the attachments.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

But, is that Microsoft's implementation of MIME?


MS uses standard MIME encapsulated messages.

What about those still using "quoted-printable" instead?

Tough luck, it's not 1995 anymore.

And what about those using TNEF instead of MIME?


TNEF isn't an alternative to MIME. TNEF is a format for the attachment itself. The message is still multipart MIME. Email does not, and should not, care about the format of the attachment itself. That's up to the client to handle.

And is that using MS pseudo-HTML? Or real HTML? Or someone else's bastardised HTML (like FirstClass mail)?


This has nothing to do with the mail system.

There's not "1 single, standard method" for encoding even the text in an e-mail, let alone the "HTML" formatting, or even the attachments.


There's a difference between the format of the mail and the format and encoding of the parts.

Reply Parent Score: 3