Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (3531 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Re: test of sending to list using TEXT not HTML
  • From: Randall R Schulz <rschulz@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 07:11:45 -0800
  • Message-id: <200701050711.45476.rschulz@xxxxxxxxx>
On Friday 05 January 2007 04:33, Joachim Schrod wrote:
> Randall R Schulz wrote:
> > On Thursday 04 January 2007 22:31, Mike McMullin wrote:
> >> ...
> >>
> >> Please don't ever send someone or anyone you might like, HTML
> >> e-mail.
> >
> > Why not? Typographic variation is an age-old aspect of textual
> > expression. There's no good reason to eschew it. Why should we be
> > stuck in the 1970s when it comes to written, on-line communication?
> Because HTML are not readable in digests, mixed with plain text.

Fine. I'm not advocating it for every communication or in all venues.

> Because people writing HTML email makes assumptions about the
> facilities available at the receiver -- namely, that the
> typographical variation can be seen there. This means that the
> introduction "my comments are in red" are not meaningful if I read
> that email in a terminal window over a slow GPRS connection. Or in a
> black-and-white PDA.

Yeah. It assumes they have an OS released within the last 5 years.

> Because HTML emails tend to be much larger (again, not all of are on
> broadband all of the time).

Can you quantify that? 'Cause I don't believe that a few font variations
have a significant bloating effect on message body size.

> Because HTML emails can reference images and other stuff on the
> Internet, leading either to dial-ups and privacy intrusion or
> incomplete emails.

Then don't allow them to be displayed in the client. I set KMail's HTML
options (it has two: whether or not to interpret HTML and if it does,
whether or not to fetch external resources) on a per-folder basis. Some
newsletters I get are (at my option) sent in HTML form and may include
images. Since I trust the sender, I enable full rendering. In other
cases, I may allow HTML interpretation without image fetching. In my
junk mail folder, I turn off both, though frankly there's no case when
interpreting the HTML without fetching external resources is a risk.

That's enough to be safe from the more nefarious uses of HTML email.

> Because HTML emails are a prevalent intrusion vector for attacks.

Only for naive clients and users. And for naively written software and
clueless users, there are other worse vectors.

> Because HTML emails are slow-dog for many recipients who use
> Outlook. (Not that I use that, but I care for the recipients of my
> emails, too.)

I suppose you mean "dog slow." I don't know why that would be, since
every HTML-capable email client I know just uses the same HTML
rendering component used by other applications. (Eudora on Windows has
the option to use its built-in HTML renderer or the system one.)

> That's enough reasons to allow (i.e., whitelist) HTML emails only
> for communication partners that are important enough for other
> reasons to override these arguments.

That's confusing enough that I'm not sure what you're saying. But again,
I didn't advocate universal use of HTML, I objected to a categorical

> Emails are not a good representative of textual expression. In my
> opinion, they have also many attributes of oral exchanges; its
> informality not the least. And as with phone calls, I don't have
> colors to tag important words either.

Oral communication has other ways of indicating emphasis.

*Asterisks*, _underscores_ and /slashes/ are stupid, feeble, ugly
substitutes for real typographic controls.

> Plain text is sufficient to express yourself here. If it isn't, put
> more effort in it, it will pay back in getting better answers.

Here, maybe. (Maybe not.) The statement to which I objected was:

>>> Please don't ever send someone or anyone you might like,
>>> HTML e-mail.

This statement is much too sweeping. Personal communications is even
more likely to call for styled text.

> ...
> Joachim

Avoiding and denying styled text in email is sheer Ludditism.

Randall Schulz
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