Re: SMTP question


ejc@tsca.istc.sri.com
Mon, 27 Jul 87 10:01:06 -0700


This will likely lead to yet another tangent and should be continued on
the MM Mail list, but it isn't true that NOBIDY FOLLOWS THE
SPECIFICATION for MM Mail. There was a report written by SRI in 1983
defining the consensus (among DoD researchers) specification for
standardized MM Mail exchange at that time. The BBN Diamond, ISI MMM,
and SRI MMM systems all conformed to that spec (and also, I believe,
Dave Mills' Fuzzballs could read MM msgs). A RFP was to be generated,
and more development was to be undertaken, especially in the area of
graphics exchange.

BBN decided to change the DIAMOND exchange formats to support new
capabilities they were developing, and as a result, they were no longer
compatible with the other (still operational) systems. SRI, in turn,
has been funded to develop systems that handle digitized images (maps)
with dynamically changing graphic overlays. One might argue that these
enhancements should have been discussed and a common exchange protocol
agreed to by the "whole community", but the truth is, minimal funding
is being provided for that. One observation that is given to support
the cutback in funds is that there aren't any remaining research
issues. But, one only has to look at the subject headers on this
mailing list (the details quickly become boggling) to see that there
are many unresolved issues in information exchange in our current
systems (not even addressing enhanced system capabilities) and that a
much better framework is needed.

So, in summary, there still are "compatible" MM Mail systems, they
clearly need upgrading to support new capabilities, DIAMOND is
developing such capabilites but common exchange protocols need to be
re-established in order to leverage all the on-going research in these
areas.

Earl



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