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Re: [Nmh-workers] Dealing with missing From: header during send.

From: Lyndon Nerenberg
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] Dealing with missing From: header during send.
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 15:16:50 -0800

The days of guessing the construction of local and remote email addresses went 
out the door with the ARPANET, /etc/hosts, and the multiuser VAX.  In this day 
and age of personal workstations, port 25 filters, and MX records, any attempt 
at synthesizing a senders email address from uids, hostnames, or any other 
random bits of the environment is nothing more than wishful thinking.  If it 
works, it's by happy coincidence, not by design.

Today, and email address identifier is something that is set by site policy, 
independent of the runtime environment.  Sometimes that policy can be set in 
the site's MSA or MTA, which gives the impression to a naïve user that the MUA 
magically figured this out all by itself, when in fact the underlying mail 
transport infrastructure filled in those values based on a header re-write 
And more often than not, that policy is wrong.

An email address is no longer associated with a specific login on a specific 
host, and this has been the case for nearly two decades now.  An email address 
is an identifier tied to a specific individual or service.  In the case of an 
individual, you carry it around with you.  When you choose to use it, you have 
to configure that identifier into whatever bit of software or hardware you use 
to send email from.  Pretty much every MUA in existence today requires you to 
configure an address for the From: header before you can even use it.  That nmh 
doesn't is simply an artifact of its age.  It is no longer viable for any MUA 
to try to guess at what a From: header should look like, and it's unbelievable 
that having to enter this information, once, is any burden on the end user.


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