Mail readers

Bart Silverstrim bsilver at
Fri Mar 19 03:54:11 PST 2004

On Mar 19, 2004, at 2:49 AM, Gary W. Swearingen wrote:

> Bart Silverstrim <bsilver at> writes:
>> No. Nothing. Format=flowed applies solely to plain-text messages. HTML
>> messages already have something functionally equivalent to f=f: the
>> <BLOCKQUOTE> attribute, which... um... quotes blocks of text. When f=f
>> mailers that also can handle HTML encounter <BLOCKQUOTE> text, it’s
>> usually marked up with the same excerpt bars we’re familiar with from
>> f=f. Format=flowed isn’t actually at work there, but since
>> <BLOCKQUOTE> text flows nicely when you resize a window, the effect is
>> the same.
> I've never heard of this f=f stuff and don't have time just now to
> investigate, but I'll keep typing anyway.  I think the problem is
> the same but worse.  f=f is probably spec'd in a new draft RFC and
> many mail readers don't support it, so your correspondents on a list
> list this can't handle it well.

According to the FAQ, it (f=f) was developed (IIRC) by Qualcomm to not 
solve any problem in particular.  However, this form of formatting 
would allow text to be easily formatted into columns readable by any 
kind of simple display...i.e., PDAs and cellphones with text messaging 
and email, etc. and at the same time it would easily scale to larger 
(PC) displays with pretty formatting and proper wrapping.  Older 
readers would just ignore the formatting characters and mangle it 

Oddly enough (if my current theory holds) where the invisible f=f 
formatting is inserted in an Apple app is dependent on the width of the 
composition window...which on my iBook really sucks because this window 
looks so NARROW compared to what I'm used to, hoping that other 
people's mail readers work a little better with reading my posts to the 
list.  I haven't heard other people complaining as much about my mail 
wrapping at the 120 mark, so I'm hoping that maybe this will make it 
easier for others...

It shouldn't be that hard for terminal mailers to adopt f=f, if I'm 
understanding it properly...just be a matter of time.


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