The Extension of MIME Content-Types to a New Medium (RFC1437)
Original Publication Date: 1993-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-10
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
N. Borenstein: AUTHOR [+1]
This document defines one particular type of MIME data, the matter- transport/sentient-life-form type. This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard.
Network Working Group N. Borenstein Request for Comments: 1437 Bellcore M. Linimon Lonesome Dove Computing Services 1 April 1993
The Extension of MIME Content-Types to a New Medium
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.
A previous document, RFC 1341, defines a format and general framework for the representation of a wide variety of data types in Internet mail. This document defines one particular type of MIME data, the matter-transport/sentient-life-form type. The matter- transport/sentient-life-form MIME type is intended to facilitate the wider interoperation of electronic mail messages that include entire sentient life forms, such as human beings.
Other informally proposed subtypes, such as "non-sentient-life-form", "non-sentient-non-life-form", and the orthogonally necessary but nevertheless puzzling "sentient-non-life-form", are not described in this memo.
The matter-transport/sentient-life-form MIME type
In order to promote the wider interoperability of life-bearing email, this document defines a new MIME content-type, "matter-transport", and for an initial subtype, "sentient-life-form". This subtype was designed to meet the following criteria:
1. The syntax must be extremely simple to parse, to minimize the risk of accidental death due to misinterpretation of the standard.
2. The data format must be extremely robust, with redundancy to ensure that individual life forms will survive and be reconstituted in such a form as to be nearly indistinguishable from their initial state, no matter how many bizarre email gateways are encountered in transit.
3. The syntax must be extensible to allow for the description of all yet-undiscovered aspects of life forms which will be required
Borenstein & Linimon [Page 1]
RFC 1437 MIME Content-Types for a New Medium 1 April 1993
for the transport of non-human species (e.g. dolphins, Klingons, or politicians).
4. The syntax must be compatible with SGML, so that with an appropriate DTD (Document Type Definition -- the standard mechanism for defining a document type using SGML), a general SGML parser could be written to parse the data structure and produce directives to a lifeform-reconstitution mechanism. However, despite this compatibility, the syntax will most likely be far simpler than that of full SGML (so that no SGML knowledge is required in order to implement it), since it is anticipated that the full complexities of SGML will not be necessary for the description of even arbitrarily complex organic life forms.
The syntax of the new content-type is very simple, and indeed makes considerable sacrifice of efficiency in the interest of simplicity. It is assumed to describe a three-dimensional rectangular solid, with the height, width, and depth (calibrated in centimeters) specified as parameters on the content-type line. (In general, this should be a cube that completely conta...