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Re: My greatest fear

1991-08-24 01:56:22
On Fri, 23 Aug 91 15:37:45 -0400, leo j mclaughlin iii wrote:
Don't be obtuse.

Who is being obtuse?  I've gotten tired of these circular arguments, not to
mention wasting huge amounts of my time answering them.

Today I find my mailbox filled with handwaves such as "why should you think
that people will do the wrong thing just because you make the protocol messier
for the sole reason of allowing them to do the wrong thing?" or "every user
should have his own private MTA if he can't control the system MTA" or
"nothing should be done in 7 bits any more so it isn't an issue".  Such
questions have been hashed out and answered in nauseating detail over and over
again in the past 6 months.

I am beginning to suspect a filibuster.

Since it seems that we are no closer to moving to closure, perhaps it's time
to conclude that this WG is going nowhere.  What little has been produced is
shaping up as an unwieldy kludge tower.  Perhaps we should admit failure,
disband this WG, and shelve its work, until such time as people are ready to
work instead of play politics.

What was needed was a compatible and interoperable method of specifying multi-
part message bodies, of typing the individual parts, and of providing a
mechanism for non-ASCII character sets.  What is being proferred is a hairy
mess to satisfy everybody's favorite idea of what should be in the ultimate
mail system; with no regard as to what is practical to implement, or what can
reasonably be expected to work in an interoperable fashion.

RFC-XXXX was a noble attempt, but it seems clear now it is fatally flawed.  In
the name of maximum generality, it has acquired scoping gaps you can drive a
truck through, or in this case multi-level encodings.  I haven't even touched
on questions of some of the other silly states that are introduced (quick:
what does a character set mean with audio?).

It seems to escape the minds of certain individuals that whatever is specified
in this WG will NEVER be generally implemented by the overwhelming majority of
e-mail UA's and MTA's.  None of it.  People freely banter around terms such as
"declare X broken" or "no more work should be done on Y" as if somehow the
issuance of an RFC will make things happen.  It won't.  What's more likely to
happen is that we'll get various non-interoperable subsets, none of which
interoperate with the most important one -- today's 821/822.  We have enough
trouble getting people to interoperate with 821/822.


-- Mark --

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