Tuesday, March 18, 2008

There is so much IETF work on email these days. There are five separate WGs (one in the Security area), a Research Group and a couple informal efforts. I tend to have to summarize the work to pull it together in my head. Here's the post-71st-IETF sitrep. Also see Barry's post for more detail on SIEVE, DKIM, LEMONADE and ASRG. Document links collected at bottom.
  • The IMAPEXT WG is so close to shutting down, it did not meet last week. One of its work items was to internationalize parts of IMAP (including mailbox names, and how to sorting strings like subjects) and those documents were delayed but finally got approved.
  • The LEMONADE WG met, and seems to be winding down. Although its extensions are all linked by being useful to mobile email clients, there are some extensions there of general interest.
  • The SIEVE WG just finished publishing a whack of documents around its new core spec, RFC5228. At its meeting, the group discussed whether to recharter to do another round on the core SIEVE documents and standardize some more filtering extensions.
  • EAI WG has requested publication for most of its documents. These are Experimental Standards for using non-ASCII characters in email addresses, which affects IMAP, POP3, SMTP in interconnected and complicated ways.
  • A design team is nearly done updating SMTP (RFC2821) and the Internet Message Format standard (RFC2822). They're handling "last call" issues on the list.
  • DKIM -- having previously published its core signatures doc (RFC4871) and requirements for signing practices (RFC5016) -- is now working on the signing practices standard itself.
  • ASRG, the Anti-Spam Research Group, is documenting various anti-spam techniques.
  • In informal discussions, several of us keep talking about rearchitecting email access. However, nobody's ready to predict, let alone commit, that their company will implement something new. Does that mean that there's not really enough pain around using IMAP? Or that the pain is the user's and not the software vendor's?

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