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I would like to initiate an informal customer survey about the KBIN mail
file format that Zmail offers.
The motivation for this is the fact that KBIN has become a serious
maintenance problem, and we suspect that its benefits to both our
customers and to us are marginal. It is a problem because
- the implementation is quite arcane and complicated, and the original
developer has left the company;
- it is therefore difficult to fix bugs and maintain it against general
system software changes;
- it is an inherently unrobust anyway, since it is a binary sequence --
if one byte is dropped or trashed, a file cannot be rescued.
Therefore, we are considering removing support for it from Zmail.
(Customers would not be stranded by this; existing KBIN files could
still be read. But the format could not be written, so for a KBIN
buffer the user would be obliged to pick a new format, e.g., Babyl. We
would also supply conversion tools for efficient bulk conversion of
So my survey question to the SLUG community is simply this: what is your
feeling about the proposal to remove the ability to create KBIN files in
Zmail? How much would you miss it? Do you see it as having important
benefits to you? To Symbolics users in general?
We are quite interested in any comments and relevant experience you have
to relate. Please send them in by Friday, 5 January.
You can address your reply to SLUG if you wish, but it would probably
help keep mail volume in bounds if you would just reply to me directly.
I will summarize and publish the results. Thanks for your help in this.
- KBIN survey
- From: Douglas Dodds <Dodds@YUKON.SCRC.SYMBOLICS.COM>