[MlMt] Feature Suggestion: Making mailer daemon-mails easier readable

Bill Cole mmlist-20120120 at billmail.scconsult.com
Fri Apr 13 14:18:14 UTC 2012

On 13 Apr 2012, at 4:29, Benny Kjær Nielsen wrote:

> On 13 Apr 2012, at 9:26, Bill Cole wrote:
>> Unfortunately, the Mail.app powers that be have demonstrated with 
>> their
>> abandonment of the standard “format=flowed” line breaking 
>> strategy *IN
>> ORDER TO ACCOMMODATE OUTLOOK USERS* that they don’t understand any
>> concept of standards, only that of following the crowd.
> This is really sad. Since I don't have access to Outlook I am a bit 
> curios what the problem with `format=flowed` is for Outlook users? And 
> how quoted-printable could be a better solution to that problem? (If 
> anyone knows.)

The issue is insane. Note that prior to Snow Leopard, Mail.app generated 
format=flowed messages.

The "problem" is that format=flowed was not recognized as meaning 
anything by Outlook. As a result, Outlook at best exhibited the expected 
behavior of a format-ignorant MUA and presented a message with fixed 
linebreaks. At worst (depending on version and config) it would re-wrap 
the message and put a notice to the user that it had removed "extra" 
linebreaks across the top of the message window. The only advantage to 
QP is that for years after the widespread adoption of RFC2646 and even 
after the "DelSp" tweak was added in RFC3676 the latest versions of 
Outlook used and only understood line-per-paragraph text encoded with QP 
as *the* way to do reflowable plain text. I don't have a definitive 
direct statement from the Mail.app people at Apple or from anyone who 
speaks for Apple, but Outlook-friendliness is the only rational reason 
to mimic its misbehavior. I have been told informally by someone at 
Apple who does not work on Mail.app that this was the reason for the 
downgrade in what it generates and that there was some stubbornness 
towards considering counter-arguments.

I have heard conflicting reports about Outlook 2010 (which I can't 
readily test myself) supporting RFC3676. This is mildly amusing, but I 
have a sick sense of humor...

>> There is evidence that Benny is wiser than the bozos writing 
>> Mail.app, ...
> Thanks for the confidence :-) What I had in mind would be something 
> like the interface for blocked images or (the experimental) interface 
> for PGP, that is, a banner shown at the top of the message with an 
> interpretation of the error and maybe a link to additional 
> information. But I would leave the message as it was below this. This 
> does not stop a user from sending a screenshot of just the banner, but 
> maybe it would be less likely to happen compared to the solution 
> described in the blog post.

That would be better than the Exchange/Outlook misfeature. If this ever 
becomes something you have an urge to implement, please also keep in 
mind that an imprecise or incorrect translation of the standard codes 
into plain language is worse than none. Also, some uses of the standard 
codes are technically inaccurate for strategic purposes with the text 
part of the reply describing the real reason for failure in a manner 
that only a human can come close to interpreting.

(FWIW, it is possible to make my Postfix machine say "554 5.1.1 Message 
Delivered Successfully" but I am known to be a jerk.)

More information about the mailmate mailing list