[TUHS] TUHS Digest, Vol 108, Issue 2

Doug Merritt dougmerritt at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 27 13:22:21 AEST 2013

Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:
>If the original BBN code had
>been left alone, since most people did not have the issues Berkeley did,
>they would never have bothered with sendmail.cf.

Now I might be badly wrong, but nonetheless this strikes me as
badly revisionist history.

The motivation for sendmail.cf was the collision of multiple
namespaces (Arpanet, Bitnet, Usenet, etc.), each implemented
in varying nonstandard ways by different mail clients and servers,
resulting in messes like "IJQ3SRA%UCLAMVS.BITNET%SU-LINDY at SU-CSLI.ARPA",
as one of many, many examples, as observed in the famous

  "The Hideous Name", Rob Pike & P.J. Weinberger, 1985

The thing is, although sendmail.cf was/is itself hideous to understand
and therefore make maintenance changes to (although I have), it is
quite capable of actually handling the above kinds of messes, and
being extended to handle new messes as they turn up.

In short, it got the job done, despite its weaknesses.

I may be wrong, but it was my strong impression that, back in the
day, this could not be said of anyone else's code, BBN or otherwise.
   Doug Merritt

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