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.

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?

A 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