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Re: [VM] searching in mime encoded email

From: John Hein
Subject: Re: [VM] searching in mime encoded email
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2012 16:04:26 -0700

Julian Bradfield wrote at 22:06 +0000 on Jan 19, 2012:
 > On 2012-01-19, Uday Reddy <address@hidden> wrote:
 > > More generally, I am thinking that there is no reason why we can't have VM
 > > folders stored in some other character set, other than US-ASCII, e.g.,
 > > UTF-8.  Those folders won't be interoperable with other mail clients, but 
 > > do
 > ....
 > > careful reengineering effort.  The assumption about 7-bit US-ASCII is
 > > probably pervasive in a lot of VM code.  So, it will need extensive 
 > > testing,
 > I have no idea what you're talking about! VM makes no assumptions at
 > all about the character set of its folders, except that that message
 > headers are (as required) in ASCII - many of my patches over
 > the last few years have been removing the accidental cases where it
 > failed to enforce its agnosticism.
 > VM folders are simply binary files. The character set of a given
 > message - or subpart of a message - is determined by its MIME charset.
 > If you wanted, you could transcode all non-utf-8 parts to utf-8, but
 > the folder would still be a binary file; it would just be a binary
 > file that happened also to be valid utf-8 as a whole.

I hope vm can handle binary bodies okay.  I suspect there may be some
edge cases (e.g., embedded '\n\nFrom ' in binary data - using something
other than mbox format could help there).

But there are ramifications to having raw binary data in email
messages beyond the scope of vm.  Imagine reading a message with raw
binary data in an xterm with emacs -nw - see your terminal window go
catty-wompus with the right combination of bytes.  Or through a telnet
session.  Also trying to send non 7-bit ascii in a message through
some mailers might cause issues (possibly less so in this day and

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