[mailhist-discuss] Segments of email history

John Vittal jjvittal at earthlink.net
Wed Apr 4 02:54:59 PDT 2012

At 12:45 PM -0700 4/3/12, Dave Crocker wrote:
>On 3/31/2012 9:38 AM, Craig Partridge wrote:
>>  Seamless email relaying

I think we have to define terms always.  Dave 
makes that point regarding what email is below.

Relay, for example, seems to have two definitions:
-  One is between networks, as Dave implies with his comment about %, !, etc.
-  The other is in effect auto forwarding, 
letting you "email messages through your email 
account using your existing email service".

Dave's comments relate to the first of these.

>This struck me as an interesting and unexpected item.
>Plus I like having the lead being the summary of 
>the innovation and I recommend
>it for all our discussions.  That is, for any 
>candidate, we should lead with its
>value proposition.  What did it do that changed things?
>This particular one hadn't occurred to me and yet it was of massive importance
>for infrastructure operation. It really came in 
>two stages that probably should
>be marked separately:
>       1. Seamless addressing, with the DNS.  The domain name system provided a
>naming overlay that became universal and supplanted local-part source-routing
>hacks of %, !, etc., for relaying across heterogeneous administrations and
>technologies.  (I could argue that the %-hack wasn't strictly source-routing,
>but it would be a very weak argument and it doesn't matter for this item...)
>       2. Email routing, with the MX record. 
>Allowed remote sites to be as easy
>to contact as ones "directly" connected to the network  core.  As routing
>protocols go, this one is remarkably simplistic and yet it has proved
>sufficient.  And it took some iterations to  get right.
>On 3/31/2012 10:54 AM, Thomas Haigh wrote:
>  > ·Pre-email electronic message transmission, 
>including the suggestion that SAGE
>  > operators could hack personal messages into data streams, etc.
>We are going to need a solid definition of email, so that it marks a clear and
>reasonable boundary and makes it easy to exclude what came before.
>  > ·Integrated address book
>Good point.  I don't remember whether Hermes had 
>something.  I know that Eudora
>did, a bit later.

My memory from working on Hermes is that it did 
not have an address book.  That's why I suggested 
Eudora.  There might've been something in the 
intervening 10 years; I don't know.

>  > ·Email service targeted at consumers
>"targeted at consumers" could be tricky.  What does that mean, exactly.  Did
>compuserve qualify?  (e.g., it wasn't the best UI in the world...)

I took it to mean consumers vs businesses.

I agree with Craig re: Compuserve.

>  >>> * Unread message recall capability
>  >
>  > MSG had this probably as early as 1975. Hermes, also.
>I don't recall (pun) MSG's having recall, as in deleting messages stored in a
>recipient's mailbox, nevermind on a remote machine.
>I've always thought of this as a LAN-system 
>feature that didn't generalize.  It
>mostly hinged on having a central, department-level database and a /highly/
>integrated mail system for the department and/or enterprise.

Again, we probably need definitions.  I took 
"unread message recall" to mean being able to 
isolate email that you haven't "seen" from those 
that you have.  As opposed to what I believe 
Dave's meaning, "get back".  Search could also be 
a meaning.


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