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Re: Scope Creep

2008-04-02 12:03:31

Dave Crocker writes:
> John Leslie wrote:
>>    I'm happy to call it "registration" too. I think this should tend
>> to get us thinking about the right thing. How should the intent to
>> receive email for a domain be signaled?
> The current model permits no email-specific registration, in order to
> operate a mail-receiving service.  Anything that eliminates use of an
> A/AAAA record changes this basic flexibility.
> So the requirement "How should the intent to
> > receive email for a domain be signaled?" is, in fact, a very basic
> change to the core Internet mail service model.

If the ability to set up a mail server purely by setting up a host
(without adding an MX record) is a significant feature of the internet
mail system, then I would expect to see significant use of it. Right?

Absolutely and totally wrong, I'm afraid. The Internet is a huge place and gets
bigger all the time. There are a vast number of different communities out
there, some overlapping, others almost entirely isolated. Unless you're a major
multinational ISP there is effectively no chance that you can have any real
insight into all the variations in service and usage out there, and even then
your results can easily be oddly skewed in various different ways. All you know
is your own little corner of this world, and that's effectively shrinking all
the time.

But let's assume, for the sake of argument, that you were actually able to
reliably determine that this is indeed a rarely used feature. My response to
that is simple: So what? It may be little used, but this says _nothing_ about
why people use it. Given the history it very likely that without this feature
it would be much more difficult for some to operate a mail server.

Will this change with IPv6? It's entirely possible it will. It is also possible
it won't. And like it or not, our ability to influence this is pretty limited.

You know, after watching MIME finally deploy after previous efforts to extend
email past plain text failed, I thought we had succesfully internalized the
lesson the that extent to which the installed base and behavior associated with
it matters can be entirely disproportionate to its size. It may be that
a refresher course is in order.


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