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Re: Rant - Emacs mail is not user friendly

From: David Caldwell
Subject: Re: Rant - Emacs mail is not user friendly
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2014 09:49:18 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.10; rv:33.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/33.0

On 11/16/14 4:18 AM, Kelly Dean wrote:
> Last problem that I do care about is that Emacs keeps inserting line
> breaks after 72 characters, so I have to switch out of message-mode
> or copy/paste from another buffer to make it stop doing that because
> I can't find the setting to turn it off.

Looks like it runs "auto-fill-mode". You can turn it off, or you can
adjust the column that it wraps with the "fill-column" variable.

> Why is it turned on by default? Modern email readers do have
> word-wrap, after all. Even Emacs.

Probably because of tradition. It's generally considered polite to wrap
your column somewhere between 72 to 78. The SMTP spec (RFC 821) says:

> The maximum total length of a text line including the <CRLF> is 1000
> characters (but not counting the leading dot duplicated for
> transparency).

So there is a maximum, though it's about a 13 line paragraph (wrapped at

Many email clients (including Thunderbird, which I'm using) use the
quotable-printable encoding to encode longer lines (which escapes the
line with an "=" if it's not meant to end). I guess this idea is to make
the raw text mostly readable but still unwrappable. I think it's quite
ugly, but it appears to be a pretty universal standard.


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