RE: HTML: woes

Laws, David (
Wed, 11 Mar 1998 16:20:32 -0500


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alexander 'Sasha' Chislenko []
> At 03:36 03/11/98 -0800, wrote:
> >Personally, as someone who quite often reads mail with 'vi
> /var/mail/mark',
> >I find HTML a real pain in the ass. The only benefit I can
> see is that it
> >can include links to other sites, but cut and paste takes
> far less time
> >than Netscape spends displaying complex HTML messages.
> >
> It looks like many of such problems would be resolved if
> you had a smarter
> mail server. You could just tell it what type of client you
> use, and it
> would filter out HTML code, or do any other conversion.
> Modems can do such things already, they can talk down to
> older modems with
> simple protocols, when it's needed, but when they figure out
> they talk to

You've missed the rub here. 'Mark' is claiming to read his e-mail by
opening his mail spool directory with the default UNIX text editor.
He is not using a mail client. The server has no idea (nor should it)
as to which client a user uses.

Mail servers accept, deliver, and store messages. Different types
allow different ways for a client to access and retrieve these
messages (such as IMAP allowing the client to retrieve each part of a
message at any time<headers, body, attachments, etc>). I can connect
to any of my mail servers with any (almost) client (POP, IMAP, etc).
For a server to be able to keep track of what client you have is for
the server to be able to force you to use a specific client. And, if
you've told a server you use xyz POP client and then try to retrieve
mail with a 567 IMAP client setup differently (such as keeping mail on
server, deleting mail when exit, where to keep copies of sent mail,
etc) you're shoutta luck.

While I personally do fine HTML a poor excuse for e-mail format it is
completely within the standards of MIME (which, btw...IS a standard.
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. It allows for such things as
sending graphics and audio as attachments to e-mail, as well as WORD
documents or HTML files). Either Netscape 4.04 or OutLook Express can
read POP, IMAP, HTML, you name it. There is no excuse for anyone not
being able to read an HTML formatted file. Wrongful use of bandwidth

Anyone proud of NOT using a decent mail reader has no sympathy from me
and gives rise to the veracity of their claim to be on a forward
thinking optimistic list.

What I do find most appalling is the amount of 'I won't believe that
because it's new and you can't make me-proud to be a regressive-we've
always done it this way' sentiment I've seen regarding such a silly
thing as e-mail. Mark's reading his mailspool with vi is akin to
cutting your lawn with scissors.

- --------------------------------------------
A rose by any name would smell as sweet.
Call it art if you want to, it's still junk.
- --------------------------------------------
David R. Laws
DarkMatter is out there...

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