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Re: text/enriched: Throwing in the towel

1993-09-02 16:35:32
Excerpts from mail: 2-Sep-93 Re: text/enriched: Throwing.. Steve
Dorner(_at_)qualcomm(_dot_)co (823*)

I'm certainly *capable* of justifying text using spaces.  This led me to
believe that I was *required* to do so.  The fact that your text/plain
alternative used this method reinforced in my mind the idea that this was
expected behavior (understood that there is no explicit tie between the
formatting of your message and the standard).

Well, as I've learned the hard way, you have to be very careful with the
wording of standards; if it doesn't say "shall" or "must", I don't think
you can consider it mandatory.  But I can see where the current
situation would give you that impression.

So, if in my judgement justification would lessen the legibility of the
text, I am allowed to eschew it, regardless of the sender's implicit or
explicit instructions?  Can I get that in writing?  :-)

Will email suffice?  Or do you want a fax of my signature?  How about a
scanned-in image of my signature in blood?  Is full color necessary?

Seriously, I think that common denominator enriched text is a very new
thing, and I really don't pretend to know what is right. I would be
prepared to argue, however, that "right" is critically dependent on the
overall environment in which the mail is read, since there's no hope for
perfect fidelity anyway.  (Even PostScript doesn't always get perfect
fidelity -- consider fonts and resolution -- and we were shooting for
something a LOT simpler than PostScript.)  If you're integrating mail
into a coherent system that provides a document processor in which
everything IS fully justified, it makes sense to show the email that
way.  If you're integrating it into a system where text is NOT generally
fully justified, it makes sense to show it that way.  I really think
this is like font specification, which is left out of text/enriched for
a very good reason, i.e. you don't know what fonts are available or will
look best locally.  What I had in mind for the default state of
text/enriched is more or less "it might be justified and it might not,
depending on what works and looks good locally."  I suspect that this
lack of specificity is either insane or brilliant, but I could be
wrong....  -- Nathaniel