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Re: [Nmh-workers] Thoughts: header/address parsing

From: Robert Elz
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] Thoughts: header/address parsing
Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2014 06:57:00 +0700

    Date:        Sun, 03 Aug 2014 18:54:53 -0400
    From:        Ken Hornstein <address@hidden>
    Message-ID:  <address@hidden>

  | RFC 733 has similar ABNF.  It's worth noting that all of the examples
  | I've seen in RFC 733 and RFC 822 are in the "modern" form; it looks
  | like the other form was never recommended.

If all you take as context is internet (arpanet) e-mail, you'd probably come
to that conclusion - but back in the day (people looking "circa 2000" are
way into the "modern" era...) there were lots of other mail systems.

Use of route-addrs with a phrase was VERY uncommon in most other mail
systems, and the name (comment) form, where the comment was then used to
put a human name (there being no-where else it could go) was very very
common.   It also allowed (without the annoyance of quoting, which at the
time almost no-one did, or at least not correctly) for anyone's name to
be represented  ... you can't use Dr. Fred Smith as a phrase, it has to be
"Dr. Fred Smith" - but a comment that is (Dr. Fred Smith) is perfectly
fine, also John O'Rourke, Bill Jones Ph.D., Prof. X Y, ... you get the
picture, in comments, the only thing that mattered was () - which are kind
of unlikely in people's names, in phrases, anything but letters and digits
is a risk (they're not all prohibited, but can you actually list what 
characters can be used, and which cannot - without looking it up?)

This was all 70's and early 80's - mby the mid 80's things were gradually
changing, and use of the 822 preferred forms became much more common as
more and more mailers adopted internet standards as their basic mechanism,
rather than whatever they had before.   These days, the phrase form is much
more normal, though I wouldn't relegate the comment variety to "extinct, and
can be forgotten" just yet.


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