Re: [apps-discuss] Mail client configuration via something, maybe WebFinger

Doug Royer <> Wed, 10 February 2016 17:05 UTC

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From: Doug Royer <>
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Date: Wed, 10 Feb 2016 10:05:05 -0700
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Subject: Re: [apps-discuss] Mail client configuration via something, maybe WebFinger
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On 02/09/2016 07:59 PM, John Levine wrote:
>> Maybe the there are two separate issues.
>> - How to containerize and standardize passing of configuration information ...
>> - How to transport that information across whatever transport is available.
> I'm a big fan of not inventing stuff if we don't have to.
> First I'd like to understand why mail clients don't implement RFC
> 6186.  It seems to me that for a whole lot of mail users, it provides
> all the configuration info they need.  I realize there are mail
> systems where the e-mail address isn't the user ID, and systems where
> users in a single domain are assigned to different servers, but there
> sure are a lot of systems including the very largest where that's not
> a problem.

(1) I just checked GMAIL, YAHOO, AOL, HOTMAIL, and my ISP. Only GMAIL
seems to -mostly- provide the correct information.

Gmail SRV returns: 86400 IN SRV 5 0 587

Yet I have to use port 465 (not 587 in the SRV record). 587 simply fails
for me - I did not care why.

(2) Some ISP's want your email address in all lower case when
authenticating, others want it as you entered it. When I setup with my
isp, it asked what email address I wanted: I entered "DougRoyer", so
that is how I entered my account name. I have to use DougRoyer (and not
dougroyer@isp, DougRoyer@isp, or dougroyer) as the authentication name.
It took me an hour or so to figure that out.

Some accounts have nothing to do with the email address. Your
authentication is your phone number, account number, or some unrelated

(3) Password type is not Not in 6186: Plain, Encrypted, Kerberos/GSSAPI,
NTLM, TLS-Certificate, or OAUTH. Some MUA's ask, users do not understand
the question.

(4) And with Kerberos most users have no clue how to setup their email.

(5) With TLS-Certificate, it fails, until they get their certificate, so
they don't push SRV records, they just provide the user with the
connection information.

(6) Different IMAP/POP and submission servers per user, as in:

I want my east coast users to use, and the west
coast users to use

Engineering uses IMAP on UNIX, sales uses POP3 as they use an exchange
server because it works with their sales tools.

Load balancing, some users use, others

So they do not push any SRV records.

> If the answer is anything other than inertia, that might give us some
> guidance as to what a better design would look like.  If, as I
> suspect, the answer really is inertia, a new design is unlikely to be
> any more successful.

It looks like lack of inertia and confusion.

I helped a friend with an ISP that offers POP3 free. If you want IMAP,
you pay extra.

That ISP considers the 'preferred' service IMAP.
You can connect with IMAP, but get no email if you expected the free


Doug Royer - (http://DougRoyer.US)