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MIXER Impact on CMS-X400

2001-12-26 22:14:17

   As Russ reported at the meeting in Salt Lake, the IESG has expressed some 
concern that we address the relationship (or lack thereof) between the CMS-X400 
specs and the MIXER standards.  The MIXER document (RFC 2156) and the BODYMAP 
document (RFC 2157) specify how to perform gateway translations between 
SMTP/MIME and X.400 envelope and P22 content.  The IESG's concern seemed to 
arise from the fact that the X400WRAP and X400TRANSPORT drafts dealt with 
mixtures of X.400 and MIME objects, but did not give any consideration to the 
only other RFCs that did so.  This seems to be a reasonable concern.

   Fortunately, the possible interaction between our drafts and the MIXER 
standards is very limited.  Obviously, in the case where you're dealing in 
signed or encrypted content, the application of gateway translations cannot 
affect the content without first removing the CMS wrappers.  In the case of the 
X400WRAP draft, any translation is simply out of scope.  In the case of the 
X400TRANSPORT draft, gateway translation of the envelope only is fully possible 
without interfering with the security services.  However, the translations (and 
MIXER) remain orthoganal to our work.

   In this light, I have been considering some additional text to make this 
situation clearer in both documents.  As a result, I propose the following 
amendments to the document draft-ietf-smime-x400transport-04:

- Append a new 2nd para to "1. Introduction"

        This document describes a mechanism for using CMS objects in 
        an otherwise native X.400 environment.  It describes an 
        environment that deliberately uses a mix of technologies, but 
        does not describe any gateway operations, per se.  It is 
        possible to combine the provisions of this document with 
        gateway operations, such as specified in [MIXER].  However,
        translation must be limited to the envelope fields only since
        modification of the CMS-protected content would invalidate 
        S/MIME security services.

- Add to the "A. References" section:

        [MIXER] Kille, S., Editor, "MIXER (Mime Internet X.400 Enhanced
        Relay): Mapping between X.400 and RFC 822/MIME", RFC 2156, 
        January 1998.

Also, I would propose the following amendments to the document 

- Append a new 5th para to "1.1 Specification Overview"

        This document describes use of security services for X.400 content 
        that will not interact well with gateway services, such as described 
        in [MIXER].  Translations limited to envelope processing may be 
        viable in the context of this document.  Body translations, such 
        as described in [BODYMAP], cannot be performed without removing 
        S/MIME security services.  Translation after removal of the CMS 
        security measures described herein is beyond the scope of this 

- Add to the "A. References" section:

        [MIXER] Kille, S., Editor, "MIXER (Mime Internet X.400 Enhanced
        Relay): Mapping between X.400 and RFC 822/MIME", RFC 2156, 
        January 1998.

        [BODYMAP]       Alvestrand, H., Editor, "Mapping between X.400 and 
        RFC-822/MIME Message Bodies", RFC 2157, January 1998.

   I look forward to any feedback on this approach, or on my specific proposed 

Best holiday wishes to all,
Chris B.

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