Unixers, RFC, and Perl

By Xah Lee. Date:

Good point. Allow me to clarify a few things for the industry coders.

The title for Really F���ing Common, number eight hundred and twenty one, is, SIMPLE MAIL TRANSFER PROTOCOL. In other words, it's the hodgepodge specification that describes a pop email protocol. Unix folks love RFCs and love to chant RFCs. Their slobbering mouth couldn't simply say mail protocol, hypertext protocol, etc, but had to say RFC xxx. They let RFCs dribble from their tongue as if it's the sweetest poem. Don't believe me? Mark your calendar: “Verify Xah's claim about RFC as Unixers' drivel” and observe. Go read newsgroup archives. You'll notice there is a correlation between the love of reciting the term and being a unix fan. It would take a full post or a book to justify a exposition of it in front of a unix crowd, but i can give you a synopsis below.

The unix loving folks, are often puerile and incapable of great accomplishments. They love and dabble in literature and computing, but lack the muse and brain. They love obfuscation, not the abstruse and recondite types in mathematics and literature, but the confounding and incomprehensible types in labyrinth and disaster. Saying Mail Protocol would be so not hip. Saying “RFC 821”, would be so educated and sophisticated. The unix folks couldn't care less about those formal, child-proof, real arcane stuff like lambda calculus, set theory, graph theory, algorithms etc. Larry Wall, is a good example of the unix fanatic.

For Perl libraries that deals with RFC 821, I personally know of three:

The first two has glaring problems. I'm sorry i forgot what they are. I think Mail::Mailer has a bug on the from field. i.e. it ignores what you gave. I'm currently using Mail::Sendmail, and according to a ex-colleague, it has problems with some DNS mail exchange entries.

for some discussion of the plethora of Perl mail modules and their short-cummings, see http://alma.ch/perl/mail.htm . (local copy alma_ch_mail.html.gz )

Commoners often have problems appreciating the greatest art, just like empty headed people will often say Xah's writings' empty of content. I like to help them out. In this very message, there are two verifiable claims. The lousy state of email modules in Perl is easily verified by anyone who knows Perl and Email protocol a bit. The other claim, on the correlation of unixer and the love to chant RFC, can be verified by statistics. Failing short of that, observation. Besides verifiable claims of facts, there is beauty. I'll leave that to your eyes.

PS here's bonus: RFC 1149.

2004-09

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