Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(April 1998)

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Subject: RE: HTML-enabled mailing lists
From: Mike Nolan <nolan @ celery . tssi . com>
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 21:53:27 -0500 (CDT)
To: list-managers @ GreatCircle . com (List Managers)
Reply-to: nolan @ tssi . com

> Why do yall go through so much trouble to not utilize existing Internet
> messaging standards? The overhead of an HTML message is pretty small. I
> wouldn't be surprised if it was near the overhead of a UUENCODE!

If a message was _just_ in HTML, I might agree with that statement, but far
and away the overwhelming majority of messages I see with an HTML component 
in them have all of the same content in a plain text component as well.
So the overhead for HTML is often more than the actual message length, and 
net bandwidth is NOT an inexhaustable resource, especially to those of us 
who pay the bills for net access.

> Granted, not everyone has a mail reader that will read HTML, but at what
> percentage do you make HTML a standard? And for those of you who are
> stuck on UNIX using readers that only stand regular text messages, don't
> gripe and complain that the rest of us decided to move on and leave you
> in the 60's. Plain text messaging is on the way out. Corporate messaging
> systems have been rich text for many years.

Well, SOME have been.  I have subscribers using PROFS on IBM mainframe 
systems, to say that their capabilities are limited is an understatement,
even to a Unix fiend like myself.  And I have seen cases of mail readers 
that CRASH because of HTML segments.

There will come a time when HTML (or hopefully something _beyond_ HTML)
will be sufficiently pervasive that it will make sense to change, but
at this point, only about 30% of my list traffic is even in MIME format, 
and under 3% is in HTML, which is a far cry from universal acceptance.
Mike Nolan

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