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format=flowed on tech lists (was: [HEADS-UP] growfs port for ffs2 and ffs1)

On Sat, 30 Oct 2010 08:10:49 +0100
Julio Merino <> wrote:

> On Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 7:29 PM, Matthew Mondor
> <> wrote:
> >
> > On Fri, 29 Oct 2010 09:25:39 -0400
> > Thor Lancelot Simon <> wrote:
> >
> > > 1) Please limit your line length to 80 columns when posting to NetBSD
> > > Â Âmailing lists, no matter how upset you are.
> >
> > Almost everytime I see a non-wrapped message posted to the lists, the
> > user agent is Apple Mail (as in this case). ÂAnd when looking at the
> > message source, those are wrapped, but using quoted-printable encoding
> > with = escaped newlines instead of =0A or actual newlines... ÂNot
> > having used Apple Mail myself, I'm not sure if it's configurable,
> > hopefully it is.
> [ Resending because I posted as HTML before by mistake.  Sorry for any dups. ]
> I recently took a look at this and found the following:
> (from
> )
> So, summarizing, Apple Mail uses format=flowed (unchangeable it seems)
> which should work in most modern clients.  (Our of pure curiosity, I'm
> wondering which ones do not.  Thor: which client are you using that
> doesn't respect this?)

Thanks for the links.  Also for reference:

In mutt, the paragraphs end up on very long lines (reaching column
width, then wrapping), and on claws-mail they're auto-wrapped at window
width boundaries (that's also annoying, as reading 160+ columns
paragraphs is suboptimal, and reducing the message window size also
means reducing the message list summaries/headers width on a number of
readers (after a search for an Apple Mail screenshot, that also seems
true on it!).  Mail written with other MUAs appear to behave properly
in both mutt and claws-mail no matter the terminal or window width.

Viewing the message source here shows no mention of "flowed" (perhaps
an MTA or MUA along the way stripped it?), it's simply Transfer-Encoding
quoted-printable with Content-Type text/plain; charset=us-ascii, and
although the source text is wrapped around 72 lines, the EOLs are
quoted-printable escaped using = (so naturally ignored by
quoted-printable decoders).

HTML-like auto-flowed text can be appropriate for text paragraphs
within a decently constrainted container (HTML provides tables and CSS
to make them look decent), but code/log/diff lines should not auto-flow
(HTML has CODE and PRE, although if I understand, a trailing space
before EOL would simulate P in flowed format, other lines considered as
in PRE).

So for a mail reader to decently show auto-flowed text paragraphs, an
additional configuration setting is also needed for the user to
specify his favorite paragraph width (unfortunately, I see no such
setting in mutt or claws-mail).  Does Apple Mail itself support this?
Also, do Apple Mail users need to style-tag the various parts of their
messages so that code doesn't auto-flow, or is the only way to attach
code files or provide URLs?

But a very simple solution to all those problems is explicitely
wrapping text-only message paragraphs, using unescaped newlines.
The other software used on the lists I read seem to do this fine...

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