Re: history of using a comment for display-name?

Keith Moore <moore@cs.utk.edu> Mon, 12 March 2001 13:32 UTC

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From: Keith Moore <moore@cs.utk.edu>
To: "Maynard Kang" <maynard@pobox.org.sg>
cc: drums@cs.utk.edu
Subject: Re: history of using a comment for display-name?
In-reply-to: Your message of "Mon, 12 Mar 2001 14:13:05 +0800." <00b801c0aabb$815c73e0$726827cb@maynardibm>
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 08:30:33 -0500
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> Additionally section 3.4.3 does state that comments must not be included
> during protocol exchanges with mail servers.. and thus if I interpret it
> correctly, sendmail is non-RFC822 compliant then.

nope.  that's not what section 3.4.3 means.

in practice, comments were the "preferred form" of representing names
for many years after RFC 822 was published.  this was due to several
reasons:

- there were rumors of old mailers still in use that couldn't handle a 
  phrase before the address

- Usenet (RFC 1036) used comments, didn't support phrase, and gateways
  between mail and news were fairly common.

- many mailers could be configured to automatically add a name as a
  phrase but would not quote that name if it contained special 
  characters (most notably ".") - thus mailers configured to use
  phrase for name developed a reputation for producing badly
  formed messages. 

- people didn't update their old sendmail.cf files, thus use of
  comments for names remained quite common and thus seemed "normal".