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ged25
September 25th, 2011, 05:41 PM
I was wondering how, despite all the innovations happening on the internet, email is the one space where I see practically nothing.

Why do you think this is so ?
Do you have a wishlist of sorts on how you'd like email to be ?

haqking
September 25th, 2011, 05:45 PM
I was wondering how, despite all the innovations happening on the internet, email is the one space where I see practically nothing.

Why do you think this is so ?
Do you have a wishlist of sorts on how you'd like email to be ?

in what respect.

It is electronic mail that has pretty much stay the same cos thats what it is.

what do you wanna see changed ?

Dangertux
September 25th, 2011, 05:54 PM
I was wondering how, despite all the innovations happening on the internet, email is the one space where I see practically nothing.

Why do you think this is so ?
Do you have a wishlist of sorts on how you'd like email to be ?


Because, despite how your mail client or mail service may make the mail prettier, in the end it all started with something like this



S: 220 smtp.domain2.com ESMTP Postfix
C: HELO relay.domain.com
S: 250 Hello relay.domain.com, I am glad to meet you
C: MAIL FROM:<dangertux@domain.com>
S: 250 Ok
C: RCPT TO:<haqking@domain2.com>
S: 250 Ok
C: RCPT TO:<OP@example.com>
S: 250 Ok
C: DATA
S: 354 End data with <CR><LF>.<CR><LF>
C: From: "dangertux" <dangertux@domain.com>
C: To: "haqking" <haqking@domain2.com>
C: Cc: OP@domain2.com
C: Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2011 16:02:43 -0500
C: Subject: This is an email
C:
C: haqking,
C: check out this thread on ubuntu forums http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=11284365
C: regards,
C: dt
C: .
S: 250 Ok: queued as 12345
C: QUIT
S: 221 Bye

FuturePilot
September 25th, 2011, 05:59 PM
Because it works. What do you want to see? Social networked emails? The day there is a "share this email on facebook" button in my email is the day I quit using computers.

BeRoot ReBoot
September 25th, 2011, 06:00 PM
I blame the change-resistant masses. See Google Wave, if people actually cared about it and free email providers (other than Google) adopted it, it would have revolutionised online communication.

del_diablo
September 25th, 2011, 06:01 PM
IRC has not changed since it was born.
Torrent has only gotten niftier connection setups since it was born.
Forums has not changed since the 90s either.
Facebook is not that different from myspace and a lot of other "social network" pages from the day, its just that it got popular enough to warrant its own status.

So what about email? I mean, what is there to change? You can add in attachments, and you can write in text. And you can send it to any email domain.
Its basically "physical letters v2.0", or that was the dream.
No, what has happened is that email is being "replaced" or "new users want to use something other than mail", and in this case people use stuff like Skype instead of sending mail.

haqking
September 25th, 2011, 06:03 PM
Because, despite how your mail client or mail service may make the mail prettier, in the end it all started with something like this



S: 220 smtp.domain2.com ESMTP Postfix
C: HELO relay.domain.com
S: 250 Hello relay.domain.com, I am glad to meet you
C: MAIL FROM:<dangertux@domain.com>
S: 250 Ok
C: RCPT TO:<haqking@domain.com>
S: 250 Ok
C: RCPT TO:<OP@example.com>
S: 250 Ok
C: DATA
S: 354 End data with <CR><LF>.<CR><LF>
C: From: "dangertux" <dangertux@domain.com>
C: To: "haqking" <haqking@domain2.com>
C: Cc: OP@domain2.com
C: Date: Sun, 25 Sep 2011 16:02:43 -0500
C: Subject: This is an email
C:
C: haqking,
C: check out this thread on ubuntu forums http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=11284365
C: regards,
C: dt
C: .
S: 250 Ok: queued as 12345
C: QUIT
S: 221 Bye

ha ha i guess email does need to be changed, cos i never got this one LOL ;-)

FuturePilot
September 25th, 2011, 06:03 PM
I blame the change-resistant masses. See Google Wave, if people actually cared about it and free email providers (other than Google) adopted it, it would have revolutionised online communication.

I don't think Google Wave failed because of change resistant people but because it was just redundant. I'm interested to see if Google+ really takes off, because again, it's rather redundant.

ged25
September 25th, 2011, 06:21 PM
Sure, email works fine. But everything worked fine until someone came and made it better. In most cases, there has always been iterations of some kind on products.
Email seems to be missing this.

IMO all this "this is end of email" type responses show that people are looking for something better than email but nothing seems to be an effective.

One of the things I'd like changed in email is encryption. I know you can do it yourself but unless your recipient is also on board, it doesn't work.

haqking
September 25th, 2011, 06:26 PM
Sure, email works fine. But everything worked fine until someone came and made it better. In most cases, there has always been iterations of some kind on products.
Email seems to be missing this.

IMO all this "this is end of email" type responses show that people are looking for something better than email but nothing seems to be an effective.

One of the things I'd like changed in email is encryption. I know you can do it yourself but unless your recipient is also on board, it doesn't work.

unless your recipient is on board is how it has to be other wise how they gonna decrypt it ?

so again what does email not have now that it should ?

ged25
September 25th, 2011, 06:37 PM
I guess I'm looking for something that's simple for the other person to set up and use.

I'm not saying that the whole protocol be scrapped or something, but surely it can be improved upon.

3Miro
September 25th, 2011, 06:38 PM
OP, if you want changes then propose some. Other software that goes through iterations does that because people need something more (not always be usually). What more do you want with e-mail?

You only mentioned encryption, which can be done as is, it just requires both sides to be on-board. However, you do have to understand that whenever you want to use encryption, both sides need to be on-board. There is no way to do encrypted e-mail without both parties being on board.

haqking
September 25th, 2011, 06:47 PM
I guess I'm looking for something that's simple for the other person to set up and use.

I'm not saying that the whole protocol be scrapped or something, but surely it can be improved upon.

Simplicity in the ecryption methods or interfaces for them are not email dependant. That is down to the email client you use and your key management software such as seahorse.

Email itself as defined in RFC's works pretty much the same as it always has because it is electronic mail or a letter sent electronically.

Add-ons and more functions are client dependant, if you dont like how thunderbird or evolution or outlooks does something then ask the developers of those applications.

Dangertux
September 25th, 2011, 06:52 PM
Yeah I agree with what several others have stated you can't really encrypt the contents of a message without the other party having the ability to decrypt it thus they need to be a part of the process. As stated there are things like pgp etc that you can use to do this but the other person still has to be able to decrypt the message.

In terms of email between servers they usually do use end to end encryption via ssl or tls not sure what else you want.

haqking
September 25th, 2011, 07:09 PM
Yeah I agree with what several others have stated you can't really encrypt the contents of a message without the other party having the ability to decrypt it thus they need to be a part of the process. As stated there are things like pgp etc that you can use to do this but the other person still has to be able to decrypt the message.

In terms of email between servers they usually do use end to end encryption via ssl or tls not sure what else you want.

lets hope it is TLS 1.2...LOL

BeRoot ReBoot
September 25th, 2011, 07:17 PM
I don't think Google Wave failed because of change resistant people but because it was just redundant. I'm interested to see if Google+ really takes off, because again, it's rather redundant.

Google Wave was basically email with a Wiki, revision control system and collaboration suite built into the protocol. It pulled several individually successful services into a single product. Google+ is just another asocial networking service.

ged25
September 25th, 2011, 07:23 PM
Encryption was just an example. I understand that both parties need to be on-board but I still think it can be made easier for the other party. Also, AFAIK, email is sent in plain text which means it can be sniffed by third parties.
Other examples would be how you can spoof email addresses. IMAP has its unexplainable quirks and inconsistencies as well.

@haqking: Yea, I don't think its a problem with the email protocol as such (though I think it could be improved). Its something that the client has to do but add-on features by clients have to be supported by the servers as well.

I just find it surprising that when every other thing changes, nothing has happened to email. Google is the last company to have done something. Gmail has the conversation view, Priority Inbox, they also attempted Google Wave.

Whether these are successful is a different matter, the thing is that I don't see any attempts either.

Dangertux
September 25th, 2011, 07:28 PM
Encryption was just an example. I understand that both parties need to be on-board but I still think it can be made easier for the other party. Also, AFAIK, email is sent in plain text which means it can be sniffed by third parties.
Other examples would be how you can spoof email addresses. IMAP has its unexplainable quirks and inconsistencies as well.

@haqking: Yea, I don't think its a problem with the email protocol as such (though I think it could be improved). Its something that the client has to do but add-on features by clients have to be supported by the servers as well.

I just find it surprising that when every other thing changes, nothing has happened to email. Google is the last company to have done something. Gmail has the conversation view, Priority Inbox, they also attempted Google Wave.

Whether they are successful is a different matter, the thing is that I don't see any attempts either.

As far as being sent plain text it depends on how the MTA is set up. Consult http://www.sendmail.org/~ca/email/starttls.html (http://www.sendmail.org/%7Eca/email/starttls.html) If you have questions on that.

As far as spoofing email addresses, and open relay issues again these all come back to incompetent sysadmins and configuration issues in the MTA all of which can be properly addressed, IMAP issues can be addressed similarly.

So what is the point? There are a lot of issues, but is there a viable solution?

ninjaaron
September 25th, 2011, 07:50 PM
Because it is based on a tradition of plain text communication that has been effective for thousands of years, and has only changed with subtle refinements during that time. Written communication is awesome. It's hard to make it better. Drastic changes are likely to make it worse.

And there have been some major changes in email, like the intruduction of html to mail readers. While I still use plain text whenever I can, it is sometimes nice to add more sophisticated fromatting and embedding options to your emails.

Plus, other things already exist, which have replaced many of the things email used to do; things like forums, newsgroups, SMS, social networking sites, chat and IM, collaborative editing systems like Google Docs and Code... the list goes on.

ged25
September 25th, 2011, 08:06 PM
Well, we'll never know unless someone tries right ?
Maybe this is such a hard problem that no-one is interested in dealing with it.

Dangertux
September 25th, 2011, 08:08 PM
Well, we'll never know unless someone tries right ?
Maybe this is such a hard problem that no-one is interested in dealing with it.


Maybe, or maybe the system works well enough that there is no need to change it. It's just email, and to be honest it gets the job done.

SuperFreak
September 25th, 2011, 08:20 PM
My one issue with email and it may be related more to the ISP, is the limitation on email size. I have used two ISP providers and they both have capped email size to 12 MB which seems ridiculously small to me. I know I can use drop boxes or ftp sites but my preference would be to use my email program to send files of up to 100 MB or more.

ged25
September 25th, 2011, 08:22 PM
I guess, except that it doesn't seem to apply to other programs. There are always a new version coming out, some of them breaking things that worked fine before the update even.

I was just curious how email ended up an anomaly here.

b2zeldafreak
September 25th, 2011, 08:24 PM
Email is a protocol not a program. Someone could invent an email 2.0 and it could be widely adopted, but there would need to be market pressure for this to happen. Your inability to point out something obvious to improve on it is answer enough for why it hasn't happened. There's just not very much to add that is practical and not redundant with something else.

You could just as easily ask why snail mail has barely changed even though we're getting all kinds of new hybrid cars and other tech advances, and the answer is that theres really no reason to.

pkg9991
September 25th, 2011, 08:24 PM
what are your ideas @thread_starter about how the email should be?

ged25
September 25th, 2011, 08:59 PM
Email is a protocol not a program. Someone could invent an email 2.0 and it could be widely adopted, but there would need to be market pressure for this to happen. Your inability to point out something obvious to improve on it is answer enough for why it hasn't happened. There's just not very much to add that is practical and not redundant with something else.

You could just as easily ask why snail mail has barely changed even though we're getting all kinds of new hybrid cars and other tech advances, and the answer is that theres really no reason to.

I can think of a few things that can be improved. Whether it is necessary or even technically possible is a different matter.

You see, the point I'm making is that many things happen without market pressure. Some work, some don't. That didn't stop people from trying. Updates are constantly being pushed to existing products. Someone is always trying something. You go back couple of years or even a year in time, everything will be different to how it is now except mail.

That one thing has remained constant.

What is so special about the email system that people aren't even trying ? It just sticks out to me.

The use of snail-mail has gone down a lot though. The last time I wrote a letter was when I was 5. Email is an improvement to it. You can't really beat instantaneous delivery. For physical objects, there are good courier services which greatly reduce the time required for transport.

haqking
September 25th, 2011, 09:02 PM
I can think of a few things that can be improved. Whether it is technically possible or even necessary is a different matter.

You see, the point I'm making is that many things happen without market pressure. Some work, some don't. That didn't stop people from trying. Updates are constantly being pushed to existing products. Someone is always trying something. You go back couple of years or even a year in time, everything will be different to now except mail.

That one thing has remained constant.

What is so special about the email system that people aren't even trying ? It just sticks out to me.

The use of snail-mail has gone down a lot though. The last time I wrote a letter was when I was 5. Email is an improvement to it. You can't really beat instantaneous delivery. For physical objects, there are good courier services which greatly reduce the time required for transport.

and you still havent said something that is wrong even though it is your thread and you have implied you can think of some ?

Email being a encompassing term for a technology that relies on lots of seperate protocols and mechanisms, so what is it you want to see improved upon ?

Something in SMTP, IMAP, POP, MTA, RELAYS, Client Apps, Webmail ?

so what needs to be changed, how could it or should it be different ? what doesnt it do ? what would you like to see it do that is cannot ?

earthpigg
September 25th, 2011, 09:15 PM
I was wondering how, despite all the innovations happening on the internet, email is the one space where I see practically nothing.

Why do you think this is so ?
Do you have a wishlist of sorts on how you'd like email to be ?

Um, it hasn't stayed the same. The one set of standards claiming to be "the" e-mail standard have stayed the same, but the validity of the claim of being the only set of standards has fallen by the wayside. (Being predated by FidoNET, it wasn't even true when e-mail first came out but that is beside the point)

We have alternative e-mail implementations, usually in the form of monetizing and commercializing it - maybe with a walled garden thrown in.

Facebook messages and Skype conversations are e-mails.

Are you asking for improvements that aren't tied to improved money making...?

Dangertux
September 25th, 2011, 09:53 PM
No...I'm sorry this is email (http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2822), this (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1939.txt), this (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2821.txt) and this (http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3501) are standards for transmitting email. They are standards, standards exist for a reason. For the time being they are the optimal configuration ,and sum total of all risks and benefits weighed. They can be updated and improved but ultimately remain largely unchanged.

So, no you really can't just make changes as you see fit.

ged25
September 25th, 2011, 09:53 PM
Hmmm, I hadn't thought of facebook messages.

I guess I'm asking the wrong question here. It seems that people are trying to come up with improved messaging systems, they just aren't dealing with email ecosystem as such because its become a bit too complicated. At some point, I suppose it makes sense to start from scratch rather than try to do changes on a system that has many complicated parts.

haqking
September 25th, 2011, 09:58 PM
Hmmm, I hadn't thought of facebook messages.

I guess I'm asking the wrong question here. It seems that people are trying to come up with improved messaging systems, they just aren't dealing with email ecosystem as such because its become a bit too complicated. At some point, I suppose it makes sense to start from scratch rather than try to do changes on a system that has many complicated parts.

who said email had become complicated ?

You still havent mentioned whats wrong with it or what you want it to do that it doesnt do ?

Feel free to submit your own RFC from the links above by Dangertux

wrknonit
September 25th, 2011, 10:06 PM
... You still havent mentioned whats wrong with it or what you want it to do that it doesnt do ? ...

I don't know about the OP, but I have had email accounts with gmail for over 20 years, and I've also used Yahoo and Hotmail. I've had p roblems with every email client i've ever used, and of course, I've always been using windblows. Not any more, though.

I use Ubuntu now. Today I deleted my Google account in it's entirety, because I discovered that going to my google homepage makes my internet connection act screwy. Now, after weeks of it acting up, I can use my 'puter again on the internet. I think Google was watching too close, and it slowed everything to snail mail pace.

So, my question is.... is there an open source email provider that I can use, for free email. maybe not gMail. How about linuxMail, or something like that? In the meantime, I'm using my hotmail account.

haqking
September 25th, 2011, 10:09 PM
I don't know about the OP, but I have had email accounts with gmail for over 20 years, and I've also used Yahoo and Hotmail. I've had p roblems with every email client i've ever used, and of course, I've always been using windblows. Not any more, though.

I use Ubuntu now. Today I deleted my Google account in it's entirety, because I discovered that going to my google homepage makes my internet connection act screwy. Now, after weeks of it acting up, I can use my 'puter again on the internet. I think Google was watching too close, and it slowed everything to snail mail pace.

So, my question is.... is there an open source email provider that I can use, for free email. maybe not gMail. How about linuxMail, or something like that? In the meantime, I'm using my hotmail account.

I doubt you have been using gmail for 20 years ;-)

and the client or the provider you use is not realted to the mechanisms of Email itself which apparently is flawed and needs improving according to the OP which we are still awaiting information on.

There are hundreds of free email providers, just google webmail, free email etc

Dangertux
September 25th, 2011, 10:11 PM
I don't know about the OP, but I have had email accounts with gmail for over 20 years, and I've also used Yahoo and Hotmail. I've had p roblems with every email client i've ever used, and of course, I've always been using windblows. Not any more, though.

I use Ubuntu now. Today I deleted my Google account in it's entirety, because I discovered that going to my google homepage makes my internet connection act screwy. Now, after weeks of it acting up, I can use my 'puter again on the internet. I think Google was watching too close, and it slowed everything to snail mail pace.

So, my question is.... is there an open source email provider that I can use, for free email. maybe not gMail. How about linuxMail, or something like that? In the meantime, I'm using my hotmail account.

Wasn't gmail launched on April 1st 2004?


I think you might be a little bit paranoid about the email privacy thing. Additionally, that is just discussing service providers, they would all still use the same standards. Which is why I can email you something and you will receive it and vice versa. That's not changing email , that's changing the way providers work.

EDIT : I think hushmail.com is exactly what you are looking for.

ged25
September 25th, 2011, 10:19 PM
My wishes are irrelevant here. I was just surprised that there was no change happening in that area.

By complicated, I meant that it has a lot of separate protocols and mechanisms as you mentioned.

Also, I don't necessarily mean that the protocols have to be changed. Changes client side are good as well. For example, Gmail with conversation view was something new and different.

@haqking: I didn't say that it is flawed but I certainly believe it can be improved upon. I believe everything can be improved upon. Unless you're saying that we have the best and optimal product on our hands and that it can't be improved upon further.

haqking
September 25th, 2011, 10:29 PM
My wishes are irrelevant here. I was just surprised that there was no change happening in that area.

By complicated, I meant that it has a lot of separate protocols and mechanisms as you mentioned.

Also, I don't necessarily mean that the protocols have to be changed. Changes client side are good as well. For example, Gmail with conversation view was something new and different.

@haqking: I didn't say that it is flawed but I certainly believe it can be improved upon. I believe everything can be improved upon. Unless you're saying that we have the best and optimal product on our hands and that it can't be improved upon further.

It is your thread asking the question to others so unless we know what your wishes are then the thread is dead isnt it.

You havent once said anything that needs changing or why apart from encryption which as explained works the way it should.

improve upon means to make something better which means fixing flaws, so again what are the flaws in email ?

Improvements and updates are happening all the time to protocols etc.

ged25
September 25th, 2011, 10:45 PM
No, this was a general thread on why email seems to be stagnant compared to others not a "why doesn't email have X" thread.

You look at facebook for example and you see them constantly changing. Those changes weren't because something was broken before. Improvements needn't happen only to fix things.

You're right though, changes are being made. It just looks like its happening slowly.

Dangertux
September 25th, 2011, 10:56 PM
No, this was a general thread on why email seems to be stagnant compared to others not a "why doesn't email have X" thread.

You look at facebook for example and you see them constantly changing. Those changes weren't because something was broken before. Improvements needn't happen only to fix things.

You're right though, changes are being made. It just looks like its happening slowly.

I understand what you're saying I just think it's a miscommunication. The important thing to understand is that different providers harness the same data in different ways. Also a lot of what you are noting for instance like gmail conversation view, and other things like that, have a lot to do with web based programming languages, as in how the information is displayed for a user. Those have come a long way in the past decade or so and allow a more interactive and "interesting" experience. However, just like SMTP , POP and IMAP, the protocol for transmitting THAT information (http) hasn't changed that much.

undecim
September 25th, 2011, 11:11 PM
IMHO, email does exactly what it needs to be. There's no need to complicate it further. Since we've started using HTML markup, what else would you want to add, anyways?

Barrucadu
September 25th, 2011, 11:47 PM
It's mail, but electronic. You can send text, HTML, files, use encryption... I can't see how to improve it.

IWantFroyo
September 25th, 2011, 11:50 PM
Email is perfect.

The only thing I have mixed feelings about is sending HTML emails. On one hand, it's nice to be able to send someone a possible website design. On the other hand, sending it as an attachment would be much better.

If HTML email died, so would most spam. Plain text is better (imo).

It annoys me when someone sends me a really heavy email that takes a long time to load.

haqking
September 25th, 2011, 11:53 PM
Email is perfect.

The only thing I have mixed feelings about is sending HTML emails. On one hand, it's nice to be able to send someone a possible website design. On the other hand, sending it as an attachment would be much better.

If HTML email died, so would most spam. Plain text is better (imo).

It annoys me when someone sends me a really heavy email that takes a long time to load.

Only show plain text in your emails then ;-)