[Klug-general] The Problems with EMail (Re: Talk at the next meet)

J D Freeman klug at quixotic.org.uk
Sun Nov 16 15:08:56 UTC 2008

Hash: SHA1

On Sun, Nov 16, 2008 at 11:34:26AM +0000, Peter Childs wrote:
> >From what I can I can work out EMail has (at least) four problems,
> 1. A Use case problem which really means, meaning that email is
> difficult to sort find and generally organise (What people have been
> discussing...

One of the main isssues of have with email is that people don't
understand enough of the technology behind it, they don't understand
enough of the concepts. They don't know that there is an In-Reply-To:
header. Meaning that they start a new thread which gets sorted
seperately, when they infact meant to reply to a previous email. Email's
main improvement over snail mail is the fact that you can maintain
emails as a collected serious of statements. The In-Reply-To: header is
a key part of this. It is hidden from 99% of all users. It also makes
for clouding of the information and disjointed threads. In short, don't
start a new thread, hit reply instead.

> 2. It can't handle Binary very well so people send there Holiday Snaps
> over email and the inbox get clogged. It can't even handle formatting
> very well which is why people try to use HTML email etc

HTML email is an abomination, email attachments aren't that bad, if they
are delt with properly, they arrive, you hit save as etc... Email
clients that actually load up the image in the client are very bad.

> 3.  It was never designed as a complete procedure but is a
> amalgamation of different things, hence its open to abuse and nothing
> is secure. SMTP, Pop3, IMAP, PGP, you name a protocol and its probably
> used in email somewhere.

RFC 1149.

The same is true for pretty much any system out there. Http is specified
in RFC2616, and is built on TCP, which is specified in RFC 675, not to
mention it's many extenstions (RFC's: 793, 1122, 1323, 1379, 1948, 2018,
2581, 2988, 4614, and probably others). TCP intern runs ontop of IP
which is defined in RFC791. Etc... Yes, they are all based on other
protocols, this is a feature not a bug. If you try and sit down and get
everyone with an interest to define one protocol for email, you end up
with a camal. 

> I had a fourth problem but I've now forgotten what it was.....

People top posting?

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