Removal of my brain

Valdis.Kletnieks at Valdis.Kletnieks at
Wed Sep 20 21:04:53 UTC 2006

On Wed, 20 Sep 2006 16:23:46 EDT, Todd Vierling said:

> Which is just one of the reasons that the MIME type
> "multipart/alternative" exists.  Sane MUAs that wish to send HTML also
> send a text/plain alternative segment in the same MIME stream.

Vernon Schreyer made a very good point years ago that multipart/alternative
is fundementally busticated, because there's two options:

Option 1: The actual information content of both the text/plain and text/html
is identical.  Sending the html is therefor superflous.

Option 2: There is added crucial semantic content in the HTML (links, table
formatting, etc) that is not representable in the text/plain.  At that point,
sending the text/plain is *also* incorrect, as it allows the receiving MUA to
punt and provide an incomplete and incorrect version of the information. Sending
just the text/html and requiring the receiving MUA to do the downgrading with
more precise knowledge of the exact non-representable brain damage is the
correct behavior here (for instance, some MUAs are able to provide clickable
links after filtering to text/plain, but unable to do proper table alignment).
Similar ideas are included in RFC4141, where the receiving end provides info
on what can/cant be displayed.

In either case, sending both plain and html versions is boneheaded and wrong. :)

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 226 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the NANOG mailing list