Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 2002)

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Subject: Re: The role of the mailing list
From: Nick Simicich <njs @ scifi . squawk . com>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 23:01:56 -0400
To: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>, <list-managers @ greatcircle . com>
In-reply-to: <B954C93B . 47BDC%chuqui @ plaidworks . com>
References: <207544937 . 1026506408 @ [192 . 168 . 254 . 89]>

At 05:58 PM 2002-07-12 -0700, Chuq Von Rospach wrote:
The two
digest setups exist in parallel because they solve different problems, and
both sides seem to be fighting as if only one type of digest CAN exist, and
it MUST solve all problems. Not true. Honest.

Which is why I think that the sympa people made the wrong decision in supporting only mime format digests, and why the Mj2/Mailman/other people who made the decision to support multiple digest formats made the right decision.

The problem is that at least some MLM writers are acting as if there were only one possible digest format --- and to some extent, I think that they should have called a "collection of mime message/rfc822 messages" a "collection" rather than a digest. I suspect that most people think of an RFC1153 format digest when they think of a digest, and they think of something else when they get a mime format digest. I wish that the mime people had called theirs a "collection" or something, and that the MLM people had decided to allow people to "set collection" to get that and "set digest" to get the RFC1153 thing.

But they called theirs a digest, and the tendency of mime things in general is to try and push aside, in an incompatible way, the thing that they replace that has the same name. It does not surprise me to see that the Sympa people say, "We are supporting standards, we support the mime digest as described in RFCxxxx". And then they do not support the RFC1153 thing because they do not see it as a standard.

But the other reality is that unless you do edit messages, demime them, and remove attachments, the RFC1153 digests do not scale well. There is no way to have different messages contain different character sets or to alternate right to left with left to right messages in the same digest. There is no way to do different content transfer encoding on different messages. As a person who does not read a right-to-left language nor one that uses characters that are not in US-Ascii, I really do not care about these things. (That's right, I'm selfish and provincial). But they do affect those who need 8 or more bits per character and more than one direction of language.

There is no way, really, to issue 1153 digests correctly, unless you sort by those characteristics and issue separate digests. Maybe you could encode something in html that looked 1153ish and changed character sets between messages but it would not be an 1153 digest.

(If people remember, I'd prefer that they edited my name out of the headers when replying.)

"Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature!"
 -- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Nick Simicich - njs @
scifi .
squawk .

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