---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: djb(_at_)koobera(_dot_)math(_dot_)uic(_dot_)edu (D. J. Bernstein)
Date: 13 Mar 1996 20:57:37 GMT
Subject: Re: Sending 8bit
Xref: news.kth.se comp.mail.mime:7948 comp.mail.sendmail:26414
sendmail's current 8-bit strategy is guaranteed to scare people away
Here's the situation. Many people use PCs. Many people use X. Both of
these systems are able to display certain glyphs (for example, e with
an accent grave), but their 8-bit character sets are not the same.
The sender can declare his character set in a MIME header field. The
receiver, with appropriate software, can understand that header field
and automatically convert from PC to X or vice versa.
This is a Good Thing. The receiver has an incentive to use it, because
_on occasion_ it will magically make a message readable. The sender has
an incentive to use it, if he sends 8-bit messages.
However, sendmail now adds a massive incentive to _not_ use it. If you
put MIME header fields onto your outgoing messages, suddenly _most_ of
your receivers will find that something readable has become unreadable.
Senders realize this and stop declaring their character sets. Ungood.
Receivers, seeing little potential benefit in character-set conversion,
don't bother demanding the feature from MUA implementors. Ungood.