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Re: A proposal
It remains clear to me that the 8-bit text issue is one that can be
solved in RFC822++, and does NOT REQUIRE any changes in SMTP.
Is this fact not yet clear to everyone else?
What might help at this point would be to conduct a survey to identify
the sites that would need to upgrade to accommodate 8-bit SMTP
transfers, including all the old binary UUCP systems out there, plus
the BITNET systems, and the GATEWAYS to various proprietary mail
systems (PROFS, cc:MAIL, MHS, ...). I think all these need to be
considered, and factored into any decision to change SMTP in any way.
As long we do not have this survey of impacted systems and sites, we
can only argue emotionally without any facts to support either side.
My expectation is that the number of sites and systems is quite huge
and that the fraction of them that are amenable to change of any kind
(ala PRIME) is very small. If I am wrong in my assessment, then I
will be more inclined to listen to 8-bit SMTP proposals. But as long
as this survey is not undertaken, I can only marvel at how so many
people can so completely ignore the potential harm that can be done.
Alternatively, it seems reasonable that those who will benefit the
most (and who are so vocal about proceeding to change to 8-bit SMTP to
handle 8-bit text) should carry a major portion of the costs of any
change. How about the 8-bit proponents showing us how all those
impacted sites can, in specific terms, deal easily with the
conversion? It is not enough to beat one's chest and say "We did it
with ease, so you can do it easily too, and if you don't you just
ain't a man in this man's world!"
The general moral/ethical point of this technological change argument
is that those who benefit should help defray the costs of those who
must pay but do not benefit. Else no agreement will be possible.