Incomplete MIME formatting causes some problems in Novell GroupWise

From: Sterling Hanenkamp (
Date: Fri 28 Sep 2001 - 18:25:13 UTC


My boss recently asked me to look into some emails he has been getting that are in HTML format, but Novell GroupWise (our mail server/client) doesn't display them as such by default. It shows the tags as text--there's a toggle to force it to display as HTML.

After examing the raw text of the message I discovered that the Content-Type: header is being used without MIME-Version. In RFC1521 this is forbidden, but in the revised MIME definition in RFC2045, the following is stated:

   In the absence of a MIME-Version field, a receiving mail user agent
   (whether conforming to MIME requirements or not) may optionally
   choose to interpret the body of the message according to local

The software engineers at GroupWise have either based their client on RFC1521 and always expect the MIME-Version header or have opted to not handle MIME when that header is not present. Both are considered legal actions by RFC2045. Therefore, any sane message hoping to be formatted in HTML ought to contain a MIME-Version header just in case some user agent doesn't handle this smartly--ie, GroupWise.

This could be solved in the same way as I suggested in "[anomy-list]: Here's an odd issue in GroupWise..." by forcing certain headers to appear. For our configuration, I'd like to be able to force the following whenever these headers are missing entirely:

MIME-Version: 1.0
Subject: (no subject)

I will probably modify EVPS to include its own parser to do this in the meantime.


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 Sterling Hanenkamp
 Software Consultant
 Network Resource Group, Inc.
 1105 Hylton Heights
 Manhattan, KS  66502
 (785) 776-5878

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