What is MIME?
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, commonly termed
MIME, is a specification for enhancing the capabilities of standard
Internet electronic mail. Standard email, defined over ten years ago
by a variety of documents (primarily RFC 821
and RFC 822)
has been showing its age for some time.
MIME provides extensions, allowing some new uses of electronic mail;
messages now may have:
MIME is not the only attempt to extend such services; two others are
X.400 and NeXTMAIL. However, both of these suffer interoperability
problems with the existing email infrastructure.
- Multiple objects within a single message
- Text with unlimited line length or overall length
- Character sets other than 7-bit ASCII
- Multi-font messages
- Binary or application-specific files
- Images, audio, video and multi-media messages
How can I use MIME?
You'll need an MUA that is
MIME-aware. MH is the one the author
prefers; metamail is a general package somewhat similar to
Berkeley mail. Elm also has some MIME
support, though it's a bit crude.
Where can I find out more about MIME?
friendly guide to MIME is a good place to start. The
documentation for your MUA of choice should get more specific. If you
want to know what it's really about, try RFC 1521.
Marc V 8-93