Re: [ietf-smtp] EHLO domain validation requirement in RFC 5321

Keith Moore <moore@network-heretics.com> Mon, 28 September 2020 10:38 UTC

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To: Laura Atkins <laura@wordtothewise.com>
Cc: ietf-smtp@ietf.org
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From: Keith Moore <moore@network-heretics.com>
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Date: Mon, 28 Sep 2020 06:38:15 -0400
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Subject: Re: [ietf-smtp] EHLO domain validation requirement in RFC 5321
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On 9/28/20 4:38 AM, Laura Atkins wrote:

> Do you think if the wording in the RFC is changed that established 
> behavior will change? That the SMTP servers will be reconfigured to 
> stop doing what they are doing?

I think most operators will not bother to change their existing 
practices if/when the RFC wording changes.   But if the RFC recommends 
poor practice, it will be harder to change that poor practice, because 
some people will say "but the RFC says...!"   So the RFC should not 
recommend poor practice.

If, OTOH, the RFC recommends NOT filtering based on EHLO arguments, then 
it will be at least a bit easier for operators to stop doing that when 
they start seeing that it's a bad idea.

I'm thinking long term here.   I expect 5321bis, if we do our jobs 
right, to be around for decades.   So its recommendations need to make 
sense in the long term rather than the short term.

It doesn't actually bother me that much if existing operators filter 
based on EHLO validation as long as they re-evaluate that policy over 
time.   I expect operators to be pragmatists.   But I really do expect 
use of NAT64 to increase, and I really think it's unhelpful to network 
operators if reliable email operation requires them all to maintain 
static IPv4 addresses and connections to the public IPv4 Internet.   
It's silly for email to delay a transition away from IPv4 for this reason.

Keith