Being `forced' to live with 7-bit only would not be a SHOW-STOPPER for
me. I know full well that the 8-bit stuff can be encoded into 7-bit
text & it will work fine. I've been doing this for a very long time
with things like kermit, uuencode and btoa/atob. The current draft
message format simply gives a good framework for doing this in a useful
and controlled way.
Remember, however, that requiring 7-bit only is 33% more overhead when
doing binary enclosures. This is a serious cost to be saddled with
because of some possibly backwards sites. This overhead will result in
larger connect-charges to uunet, or requiring faster leased lines than
would be necessary otherwise. Both media are quite capable of carrying
8-bit data so why should SMTP be limited to a greater extent?
a.s.pictures would, I suppose, be a bit more palatable if it
were 33% smaller :-).