Update to Internet Message Format to Allow Group Syntax in the "From:" and "Sender:" Header Fields
Draft of message to be sent after approval:
From: The IESG <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: IETF-Announce <email@example.com> Cc: RFC Editor <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Protocol Action: 'Update to Internet Message Format to Allow Group Syntax in the "From:" and "Sender:" Header Fields' to Proposed Standard (draft-leiba-5322upd-from-group-09.txt) The IESG has approved the following document: - 'Update to Internet Message Format to Allow Group Syntax in the "From:" and "Sender:" Header Fields' (draft-leiba-5322upd-from-group-09.txt) as Proposed Standard This document has been reviewed in the IETF but is not the product of an IETF Working Group. The IESG contact person is Pete Resnick. A URL of this Internet Draft is: http://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-leiba-5322upd-from-group/
Technical Summary The Internet Message Format (RFC 5322) allows "group" syntax in some email header fields, such as "To:" and "CC:", but not in "From:" nor "Sender:". This document updates RFC 5322 to relax that restriction, allowing group syntax in those latter fields, as well as in "Resent- From:" and "Resent-Sender:", in certain situations. This change is required to make the relationship between an internationalized POP or IMAP server handing messages with non-ASCII material in message headers and legacy POP or IMAP clients work in some of the ways approved by the EAI WG. Without this change, such messages effectively become completely undeliverable and may be lost. Working Group Summary The specification has been reviewed informally on the EAI and 822 mailing lists and extensively discussed among EAI participants as part of that effort (see above). Other than as noted below, there have been no significant objections; smaller issues that have been identified have already been addressed in the document. One individual has expressed concerns about the change represented by the document. The core of that concern has been addressed by adding an Applicability Statement to the specification and adjusting some other text. He would like us to go further, perhaps abandoning the change entirely. There seems to be consensus on the mailing lists that have reviewed the document that his concerns are largely unfounded (no one else has spoken up in favor of his point of view and several people have made that observation) as well as primarily focused on a protocol that has not been considered in the IETF, much less standardized. Given that concern, the Security Considerations provisions should be checked during IETF Last Call, but, especially if use of the change is confined to carefully-selected cases as the document recommends, the document Shepherd is convinced that there are no outstanding important issues in that or any other area. The small amount of ABNF in the document has been checked carefully and adjusted for maximum clarity. Document Quality Implementation of this change is basically trivial. Parsers for email message headers already have to contain the necessary provisions and code to support group syntax in other contexts, so allowing that syntax for additional backward-pointing fields should be just a matter of changing the applicable processing from one already-present case to another. If any additional code or processing is needed, it will be control the specific cases in which the construction is allowed (as advised by the Applicability Statement). Personnel The document shepherd is John C Klensin. The responsible Area Director is Pete Resnick.