I am jumping into the fray late, and with a contrary opinion to all
who have spoken so far.
Yet, I, who am less than the least, dare to tread on ground where
the angels of heaven fear to set foot....
Ned, drop richmail.
The CCITT tried to do just about the same thing in ASN.1 with their
SFD format in the 1984 version of X.400.
It is now deader than the dodo (that is, it never came alive).
On the other hand, you may want to look at the REALLY low level
profiles of ODA or SGML. Having once upon a time read the SGML
standard (the ISO text, mark you!), I have a strong suspicion
that richmail would magically turn into SGML if you changed
your delimiters from %() into < , >.......
You could then reproduce a 20-line prolog in the RFC, and any
self-respecting SGML eater would eat it, and your 34-line C
program would STILL strip it down to rawbones ASCII.
Harald Tveit Alvestrand
Holder of my own opinions