Email Parcel Post is Good!

Jamie Norwood jnorwood at
Fri May 25 19:04:00 UTC 2001

On Fri, May 25, 2001 at 09:29:00AM -0700, Owen DeLong wrote:
> To further your analogy, parcel post generally accepts packages up to 50#,
> nothing more.  This is approximately 800 times the weight of a standard letter.
> (50 pounds == 800 ounces, and first class letter pricing is based on one ounce
> increments).
> A standard email message is usually less than 32k.  800 times 32k is 25600k,
> or about 25 Megabytes.  Therefore, using your analogy, it is reasonable to
> limit parcel post to 25 Megs.  This is giving you substantial bennefit of
> the doubt here, as the largest non-attachment email I could find in my inbox
> was about 10k (making the parallel limit more like 8 Megs).
> Denying other users resources on a store-and-forward system you don't own
> by sending large attachments is, in and of itself, arguably a denial of
> service attack.

If we are going to compare, does this mean we should start charging extra
for these large messages? If we continue this comparison, a nomral letter
is $0.34 for up to 1 oz. Say a 'normal' attachment (Picture, whatnot) is
1 pound; not heavy, not small enough to just be a letter. It would be $3.45
to send it. That would be 16 times. Now, following your 800x theory, that
would be 50 pounds. To send a 50 pound parcel post would be $36.81. A roughly
1000fold increase.

If we assume, say, a penny per mail (Most of us, of course, bundling the 
first, say, 1000 free), to send that 25 MB attachment would cost $10.00.

Would this, then, be considered fair? After all, the post office doesn't
just pick up and deliver our mail, we pay them to do so, on a scale according
to the size, weight, and distance of it. By this logic, we should be able to
do the same and it would be perfectly OK.

(OK, this may be a bit chaotic and disjointed. I've given up caffeine recently
and am a bit skittish for it. :)

My point, basically, is that comparing email to the real post office is not
a fair comparison unless we are ready to take on the full burden. Part of that
is to look at each email and consider it in relation to all the others, and
charge the people sending mail according to the resources used. 

Personally, I don't think email is an appropriate way to transfer files. 
However, I know I am in the minority there, and as such, do not feel the 
need to lean on other people to make them stop. I just make sure they know
that sending it to .me. isn't an acceptable method of document transfer. 
I have known ISPs who limit, and known ISPs that don't.

Now, what does this have to do with NANOG? Is there a reason to discuss this
here? Is the conversation going to go anywhere other than to more bickering,
and spawn off another off-topic thread in a few days about the merits of
embedded multimedia in HTML pages? No? Then let's drop it. Noone is going
to convert anyone else to their religion, and that is fine. But this thread has
gotten way, way out of hand, and for one that started off-topic, has gotten
to the 'gross' stage. Let us drop this, go have a good weekend, and pick
up Tuesday with a good thread about the merits of IS-IS vs. OSPF or something.


More information about the NANOG mailing list