RFC 1437 (rfc1437) - Page 1 of 6

The Extension of MIME Content-Types to a New Medium

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Network Working Group                                     N. Borenstein
Request for Comments: 1437                                     Bellcore
                                                             M. Linimon
                                       Lonesome Dove Computing Services
                                                           1 April 1993

          The Extension of MIME Content-Types to a New Medium

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard.  Distribution of this memo is


   A previous document, RFC 1341, defines a format and general framework
   for the representation of a wide variety of data types in Internet
   mail.  This document defines one particular type of MIME data, the
   matter-transport/sentient-life-form type.  The matter-
   transport/sentient-life-form MIME type is intended to facilitate the
   wider interoperation of electronic mail messages that include entire
   sentient life forms, such as human beings.

   Other informally proposed subtypes, such as "non-sentient-life-form",
   "non-sentient-non-life-form", and the orthogonally necessary but
   nevertheless puzzling "sentient-non-life-form", are not described in
   this memo.

The matter-transport/sentient-life-form MIME type

   In order to promote the wider interoperability of life-bearing email,
   this document defines a new MIME content-type, "matter-transport",
   and for an initial subtype, "sentient-life-form".  This subtype was
   designed to meet the following criteria:

      1.  The syntax must be extremely simple to parse, to minimize the
      risk of accidental death due to misinterpretation of the standard.

      2.  The data format must be extremely robust, with redundancy to
      ensure that individual life forms will survive and be
      reconstituted in such a form as to be nearly indistinguishable
      from their initial state, no matter how many bizarre email
      gateways are encountered in transit.

      3.  The syntax must be extensible to allow for the description of
      all yet-undiscovered aspects of life forms which will be required

Borenstein & Linimon

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