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
(firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
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.
- X.400/92, as defined by the ITU and ISO in the X.400 series of
standards, with some ISO-only additions in IS 10021. See the List of Standards to get
the (reasonably) complete list of relevant standards.
- Internet Mail, as carried by SMTP, using MIME as the message
format, and with extensions to do 8-bit transfer, delivery
notifications and so on.
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
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.
- favours X.400
- favours Internet Mail
- doesn't favour either party
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
Last modified: Tue Oct 8 08:51:35 1996