[mailhist-discuss] Segments of email history

Dave Crocker dcrocker at gmail.com
Wed Apr 4 06:19:01 PDT 2012

On 4/4/2012 2:54 AM, John Vittal wrote:
> 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.

John's right on all counts; thanks for raising the issue.

It occurs to me that some of you might not know about:

    RFC 5598 - Internet Mail Architecture

It devotes quite a bit of energy on terminology.  It was a 5-year effort to get 
email community consensus on its details...

    "2.2.2.  Relay

    The Relay performs MHS-level transfer-service routing and store-and-
    forward by transmitting or retransmitting the message to its


    5.1.  Alias
    An Alias is a simple
    re-addressing facility that provides one or more new Internet Mail
    addresses, rather than a single, internal one; the message continues
    through the transfer service, for delivery to one or more alternate

I propose that we use RFC 5598 terminology whenever possible.  Does that work 
for you folk?

>> > ·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.

We aren't quite at the stage of assessing consensus on what to include or 
exclude, but I suggest that we allow entries that we inlcude milestones for 
which we have insufficient information (specifically lacking date and/or 
venue/actor/system confirmation.)

If we agree that a milestone was significant, it gets included, even when we 
don't know enough about its origins.  It can float in the list as an open 
question.  As the timeline gets review, we'll get wider community review and can 
solicit pointers.

>> > ·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.

So it's about the marketing?

> I agree with Craig re: Compuserve.

Do we know dates of Compuserve vs. OnTyme?


Hmmm.  Just came across:


which pointed to:



No dates-of-first-use, though.

It and also uncovered:

    MCI Mail / ARPA Mail Forwarding


which is dated 1984 (the first full year of MCI Mail operation.  I had 
completely forgotten about this work.

>> >>> * 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.

The word "recall" doesn't work for me, for your definition.  Selective viewing 
or filtering is more in line with that.



   Dave Crocker
   Brandenburg InternetWorking

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