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Re[2]: Will the real uuencode please stand up?

1994-12-20 14:43:20
 In <9412201825(_dot_)AA18732(_at_)dimacs(_dot_)rutgers(_dot_)edu> Rick Troth 
<TROTH(_at_)ua1vm(_dot_)ua(_dot_)edu> writes:

I don't understand why uuencode is even being considered as a
Content-Transfer-Encoding by anyone. A uuencoded file has more
information attached to it than just the encoded contents;   ...

        Bravo, Tony!   Thank you.

        This is what struck me immediately.   It what you're looking for
is compatibility with "old" (here defined as pre-MIME) mail user agents,
then it doesn't matter (to the non-MIME MUAs) whether it's CT or CTE.
New (here defined as MIME) MUAs can have uuencode "hooked in" in mailcap
or some other mapping function associating CTs with applications.

uuencode only give the file a filename - usually unix-centric; a receiver
still has to guess at the real filetype. At least using it as a CTE lets
you accurately pass the descriptive info to the receiver (for MIME UAs),
while non-MIME UAs can still take their best shot - which they're doing
nowadays anyway.

        Treating UUENCODE as a CT gives it the (perhaps silly) advantage
of surviving transport.   After all,  UUENCODE was rejected because it
doesn't survive some transport.   But a UUENCODE package wrapped-up in
CTE Base64 would get through just fine.

Wrapping it in BASE64 defeats the purpose of having the same message be
"readable" by both MIME and non-MIME UAs. Certainly, uuencode won't survive
some gateways - it never has - but it's still the ONLY choice for getting
non-ascii data to many mail systems.

As more of the other gateways and mail systems out there adopt MIME, we'll
see less and less need for uuencode; in fact we're seeing alot less since
Lotus and some other big PC packages added MIME support to their gateways.
Before that, our customers with cc:Mail weren't going to purchase a mail
system that wouldn't exchange binary files with cc:Mail. It was support
uuencode - or no sale.

                      Chris Bartram

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