PLEASE use MIME Atttachments! (was: Re: [FIX] Comments for Set...)

Richard A. O'Keefe ok at
Wed Apr 24 02:34:46 UTC 2002

	On Monday 22 April 2002 06:52 pm, Richard A. O'Keefe wrote:
	> No, my mail user agent counts as 'decent' by any criterion I care
	> about, and does _not_ support attachments.  Be sure that I first of
	> all tried using Celeste to send these things, but they vanished
	> without trace. (
	What mail client do you have that does not support MIME?

In fact the primary reason I still use it is that it _doesn't_ handle
attachments for me.  If I _want_ attachments, I filter a message through
munpack.  Works like a charm.

	Celeste has been good the times I've used it (at least in 3.2); if you 
	could give more information on this, we could probably diagnose the 
Squeak 3.0.1, MacOS 8.6, PowerMac G3 with 64MB of memory and 4GB of disc.
Nature of problem:  Celeste appears to work.  First time you run it, asks
for permission to create files, _does_ create files in Squeak folder.
But mail never arrives.  Mail sent using Netscape does arrive.

This _may_ be related to the fact that this University recently tightened
up its rules about where you can send mail from, thanks to some attacks
we've sustained, and my normal mail machine (the one where I run 
/usr/ucb/mailx and /usr/local/bin/munpack) is an Alpha, accessed through
Telnet.  (And no I _don't_ want to suck my mail over to the Mac using POP,
the Mac crashes a bit too often for my taste and the Alpha just never does.)

	> Then it is time to fix the archiving tools.
	> There are freely available versions of uudecode, and it's not
	> _that_ hard a format to support.
	uudecode is an increasingly obsolete format, and support in newer mail 
	clients is less certain.

The point of inserting uuencoded stuff in mail messages is that you don't
*HAVE* to support uuencoding in the mail user agent.  My MUA doesn't, but
I can handle uuencoded stuff perfectly well.

	For instance, in Kmail I have to run 
	uuencoded messages through an external process to decode them,

Fine.  I do that all the time.  It's no big deal.  I can do this on more
machines, using more MUAs, than I can handle attachments.

	UUencode also has a number of problems,

The principal one, of course, is that Microsoft have decided to break
the clearly laid down rules.  (See a discussion in comp.risks.)  This,
I grant you, may be reason enough to move away from uuencode.
	For more discussion on the various problems with the uuencode (non) 
	standard, see the MIME FAQ section 2.3:
That FAQ also discloses that there are broken base64 implementations
out there.

	For instance, how can we tell that lines that look like uudecode 
	headers, like this:
	begin 644 Comments-raok.1.cs
	MMM is this an attachment or not?
	are actually not?
Well, it's _never_ an attachment, it's an insertion.
You use your loaf and read the message headers and preceding text
before deciding whether you want to unpack the message.
I've been using uuencoding since 1979 and never found myself in any
doubt about this point.

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