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8-bit message bodies, Q-P conversion, and 8BITMIME

1999-02-11 17:57:00
Keith Moore claims that there were SMTP servers in 1991 that _crashed_
when they saw 8-bit bodies.

Over the last few years I have repeatedly asked Moore for evidence to
back up this claim. He has never provided any such evidence.

In 1997 I reviewed the old ietf-smtp archives and found a 1991 message
from Robert Ullmann on the same issue. Guess what? Contrary to Moore's
claims, nobody could find any SMTP servers that crashed on 8-bit bodies.

Keith Moore writes:
At the time MIME was defined there were reports of several MTAs in 
deployment which could not handle 8bit characters in the message 
body - some would corrupt the message; others would get wedged or 

Corrupt 8-bit bodies, yes. Crash, no.

I don't think it's fair to brand this as a failure, because it slowed
the deployment of "just send 8",

sendmail started doing just-send-8 by default in 1993. See for further discussion.

Amazingly enough, the IETF _still_ doesn't admit that SMTP servers are,
as a practical matter, required to accept 8-bit messages.