The Canonical Internet vs X.400 Debate

This document is an attempt to capture some of the essential points that occur in the annual flamefest on the mhsnews mailing list (, also the newsgroup comp.protocols.iso.x400).

It is not an attempt to end the debate, rather an attempt to make a list of points that have been raised before, so that new contributors to the battle can bring new weapons to the battlefield rather than trying to use rusted swords and broken maces when maintaining the tradition.

Other parts of the X.400 FAQ Web will concern the issues involved with coexistence and harmony between the protocols; this part attempts to take the adversarial stance encountered when someone has to make a decision to buy one system or the other.

What we are comparing

This particular instance of the debate will compare the following two protocols, their functionality, implementation status and so on: Arguments that take issue with the installed base, interworking with older versions and so on are relevant, but this set of standards is the basis for argument.

The list of points

The intention of this list is to have a supporting document for each of them, listing the reasons why some people think it is an argument in favour of one or the other. Not all have been written yet; have patience!

Some of the points are hotly disputed by one or the other party; this will be listed in the supporting documentation.

If someone has a nice "vote" script to send me, I would like to put a number next to each of these statements, letting people tick off whether they think the argument The vote buttons would be placed in the supporting documents.

Until this gets going, you can indicate your opinion on the future of X.400 by betting on the "X400" claim in the Foresight Exchange market at
Last modified: Tue Oct 8 08:51:35 1996