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Re: Transmission issues for transition to UTF-8 Headers

1999-02-15 08:20:09
Two Q-P MUAs can tunnel 8-bit message bodies through a 7-bit MTA.

Q-P proponents pointed to this fact in 1991 and said how wonderful it
would be to avoid the costs of adding 8-bit support to MTAs. What they
ignored was the cost of adding Q-P support to MUAs.

No, this wasn't ignored.  At the time it was widely believed to
be more difficult to upgrade MTAs than MUAs, since a user could
choose his MUA but the MTA was imposed by the user's environment.
What actually happened is that several well-publicized security 
bugs caused people to upgrade their MTAs much more quickly than 

Sending an unencoded 8-bit message body has a much higher chance of
success than sending Q-P. You're much less likely to encounter a 7-bit
MTA than to encounter a non-Q-P MUA.

That's today.  It wasn't true in 1991 when the decision was made.


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