RE: SMTP and unicode

From: Dean Harding (
Date: Tue May 17 2005 - 19:32:40 CDT

  • Next message: Curtis Clark: "Re: ASCII and Unicode lifespan"

    Heh, that's not much different from asking people to change the Unicode
    standard, though :)


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Hans Aberg []
    Sent: Wednesday, 18 May 2005 10:25 am
    To: Dean Harding
    Cc: 'Stephane Bortzmeyer'; 'faraz siddiqi';
    Subject: RE: SMTP and unicode

    At 09:10 +1000 2005/05/18, Dean Harding wrote:
    >Almost all mail servers I've ever encountered (at least, those that support
    >the ESMTP protocol) support the 8BITMIME extension (see
    > which lets you send 8-bit
    >MIME-encoded data. (By the way, you'd generally still need to send messages
    >encoded as MIME whether you're sending it as 7-bit or 8-bit).

    The problem is that "all the mail servers you have encountered" is
    not enough: It must be really all out there.

    >Personally, I've never bothered using the extension, because it means you
    >have to query the MTA you're sending to before you can encode your message
    >to see if it accept 8-bit MIME messages. I've always just found it's
    >simpler to encode the message using a 7-bit scheme and forget about 8-bit
    >(after all, you need to write the 7-bit fall-back method anyway).
    >I guess that's why 7-bit isn't going to go away: people like me are too

    The simplest way would be to write the SMTP protocol to require 8-bit
    uses. Then those mail servers still out there which zeroes the 8'th
    bit are no longer SMTP compliant, and must be changed. People have
    now had more than ten years to change their mail server software, so
    it should be not a big problem.

       Hans Aberg

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