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2822upd-04 line length limits

2008-01-26 20:59:10

Section 2.1.1 states in part:

     Again, even though this limitation is
   put on messages, it is incumbant upon implementations which display
   messages to handle an arbitrarily large number of characters in a
   line (certainly at least up to the 998 character limit) for the sake
   of robustness.

[off-topic] "incumbant" should be "incumbent".  A spell-checker can find
this and many other similar errors in the text...

No!  The MIME RFCs specifically state that lines (in header or body)
which use MIME encoding are limited to 76 (N.B. not 78 or 998) characters.
Please do not suggest, imply, or leave to the reader's imagination that
MIME-encoded text can be placed in long lines. Do not under any
circumstances imply that MIME-conforming implementations must handle
encoded text in lines "at least up to the 998 character limit".

Section 2.3 states in part (I'll address the other part in a separate message):

   o  Lines of characters in the body MUST be limited to 998 characters,
      and SHOULD be limited to 78 characters, excluding the CRLF.

      Note: As was stated earlier, there are other documents,
      specifically the MIME documents ([RFC2045], [RFC2046], [RFC2049],
      [RFC4288], [RFC4289]), that extend this specification to allow for
      different sorts of message bodies.  Again, these mechanisms are
      beyond the scope of this document.

Note (as stated above) that the MIME RFCs *limit* line lengths to 76
characters when MIME encoding is used.  The text "extend this specification"
might be misinterpreted (76 characters is a *limitation*, not an
*extension*) w.r.t. line length limits.  At a minimum, some clarification
of this point is needed in the draft text.

Section 3.5 begins with:

   A message consists of header fields, optionally followed by a message
   body.  Lines in a message MUST be a maximum of 998 characters
   excluding the CRLF, but it is RECOMMENDED that lines be limited to 78
   characters excluding the CRLF.  (See the note in section 2.1.1 for

Here again, some note of the lower length limit imposed on MIME-encoded
text is needed.

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