[linux-elitists] DoD and standards.

Evan Prodromou evan@prodromou.name
Tue Dec 26 11:10:47 PST 2006

On Sun, 2006-24-12 at 19:35 -0800, James Sparenberg wrote:

> This bit of news has come 
> across my desktop that I feel could be useful in promoting standards 
> compliance and the value of such.

> It seems that the DoD has decided to actively block all HTML e-mail.  

I'm failing to connect the dots here. How do you think this information
will be useful in promoting standards compliance?

I don't think that the example you give shows non-compliance to
standards on either the DoD's part or on the HTML mail senders'. As far
as I know, the existing SMTP standards don't require MTAs to accept nor
deliver arbitrary messages. Conversely, HTML is mentioned in many
mail-related RFCs, and most (all?) MUAs support graceful degrading of
formatting through MIME's multipart/alternative feature.

I do agree that blocking valid messages at the MTA level based on
arbitrary criteria like MIME type is contrary to the spirit of the
Internet email system. But I don't think that spirit is embodied in
particular requirements within the muddle of RFCs that make up that
system's framework.

However, I think that the problems that spam, phishing, and email worms
have caused make it increasingly difficult to defend that open system.


Evan Prodromou <evan@prodromou.name>

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