From: John Cowan (
Date: Mon Jul 21 1997 - 11:29:25 EDT

Due to network problems, I can read mail at, but
can't post/reply/send from there. Please direct all private replies
to , not the HotMail address. Thanks.

David Goldsmith writes:

> You might have to look at the original MIME RFCs (13xx?) rather
> than the current versions. I don't think that the rationale for
> Base64 is in the newer versions.

Both RFC 2045 (the current MIME document) and RFC 1341 (the
original MIME document) contain only the following sentence, which
is informative but hardly detailed:

# This subset has the important property that it is represented
# identically in all versions of ISO 646, including US-ASCII, and all
# characters in the subset are also represented identically in all
# versions of EBCDIC.

These RFCs also refer to the PEM RFCs (1421 and 1113 respectively),
which simply refer to

# characters which are universally representable at all sites, though
# not necessarily with the same bit patterns [...]

So, I continue to believe that the problems with BITNET are
produced by the different versions of EBCDIC used by different
BITNET sites without doing proper transcoding when moving from
one variant to another.

For example, when I posted lines containing ">" to the Linguist List
(a BITNET mailing list), they returned to me containing ")" instead.

John Cowan
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