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A User Agent Configuration Mechanism For Multimedia Mail Format Information (RFC1524)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000002355D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-May-22
Document File: 13 page(s) / 27K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

N. Borenstein: AUTHOR

Abstract

This memo suggests a file format to be used to inform multiple mail reading user agent programs about the locally-installed facilities for handling mail in various formats. The mechanism is explicitly designed to work with mail systems based Internet mail as defined by RFC's 821 (STD 10), 822 (STD 11), 934, 1049 (STD 11), 1113, and the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, known as MIME. However, with some extensions it could probably be made to work for X.400-based mail systems as well. The format and mechanism are proposed in a manner that is generally operating-system independent. However, certain implementation details will inevitably reflect operating system differences, some of which will have to be handled in a uniform manner for each operating system. This memo makes such situations explicit, and, in an appendix, suggests a standard behavior under the UNIX operating system.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 10% of the total text.

Network Working Group                                      N. Borenstein
Request for Comments: 1524                                      Bellcore
Category: Informational                                   September 1993


                  A User Agent Configuration Mechanism
                 For Multimedia Mail Format Information

Status of This Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard.  Distribution of this memo is
   unlimited.

Abstract

   This memo suggests a file format to be used to inform multiple mail
   reading user agent programs about the locally-installed facilities
   for handling mail in various formats.  The mechanism is explicitly
   designed to work with mail systems based Internet mail as defined by
   RFC's 821 (STD 10), 822 (STD 11), 934, 1049 (STD 11), 1113, and the
   Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, known as MIME.  However, with
   some extensions it could probably be made to work for X.400-based
   mail systems as well.  The format and mechanism are proposed in a
   manner that is generally operating-system independent.  However,
   certain implementation details will inevitably reflect operating
   system differences, some of which will have to be handled in a
   uniform manner for each operating system.  This memo makes such
   situations explicit, and, in an appendix, suggests a standard
   behavior under the UNIX operating system.

Introduction

   The electronic mail world is in the midst of a transition from
   single-part text-only mail to multi-part, multi-media mail.  In
   support of this transition, various extensions to RFC 821 and RFC 822
   have been proposed and/or adopted, notably including MIME [RFC-1521].
   Various parties have demonstrated extremely high-functionality
   multimedia mail, but the problem of mail interchange between
   different user agents has been severe.  In general, only text
   messages have been shared between user agents that were not
   explicitly designed to work together.  This limitation is not
   compatible with a smooth transition to a multi-media mail world.

   One approach to this transition is to modify diverse sets of mail
   reading user agents so that, when they need to display mail of an
   unfamiliar (non-text) type, they consult an external file for
   information on how to display that file.  That file might say, for

Borenstein                                                      [Page 1]
RFC 1524             Multimedia Mail Configuration        September 1993


   example, that if the content-type of a message is "foo" it can be
   displayed to the user via the "displayfoo" program.

   This approach means t...