[lug] Getting mail out of the Qwest/MSN mire

Bear Giles bgiles at coyotesong.com
Sun Jul 9 21:07:33 MDT 2006

Sean Reifschneider wrote:

>It's an interesting idea, but entirely moot.  We can't get people to switch
>to using signed e-mail, how are we going to get people to switch to
>entirely new protocols?  sendmail, postfix, exim, MS, Stalker, Hotmail,
>gmail, Eudora, mutt, pine, there are thousands of people who would have to
>make huge changes to make it happen.
Individuals won't switch.  But companies may look at the perceived 
benefit (ability to withdraw messages, confirmation that messages were 
retrieved, etc.) and decide to use it in-house and, if 
elephants-and-fleas, to force their peers to do the same.  A few big 
guys using the new protocols would create the infrastructure that could 
be used by everyone else.

I don't know the specific details, but I can also think of ways of 
providing legacy support.  E.g., maybe my server gets the announcements, 
immediately retrieves the documents and sticks them into my maildir 
where they're indistinguishable from conventional SMTP.  On the reverse 
side it could take the message, cache it, then send out the announcements.

>It's also not clear how something like this would help the spam situation.
>When this proposal was written, the spam landscape was very different.  For
>example, how does this proposal help in a world where a million PCs are
>taken over by spammers for their own use?
Two reasons.  First, it's expensive to keep those messages around.  I'm 
sure the spammers would use custom servers that could regenerate the 
individualized messages (vs. keeping tens or hundreds of thousands of 
unique messages), but you still have to have the system up and 
available, etc.  You might see a lot of spam die simply because the 
owner shut off their comuter.

Second, a SMTP blacklist can only handle messages sent in the future.  A 
'pull' blacklist can handle messages you 'received' days ago.  That 
provides more time to identify spamming sites, and even opens the door 
to periodically scrubbing the mailboxes of suspect (but as-yet unread) 

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