[TUHS] who invented the email attachment?

Josh Good pepe at naleco.com
Sun Mar 19 21:42:18 AEST 2017

On 2017 Mar 18, 16:46, Mary Ann Horton wrote:
> Should I make a claim to be the inventor of the email attachment? [...] 
> 2. In 1980, I wrote uuencode. [...]

I would say yes to your question. More or less.

However, the "attachment" as a concept has more to do with
"presentation" of the email message: the "attached" part is always, even
in MIME messages, part of the body of the RFC822 message.

In that sense, it does not matter whether it is inline source code,
inline 'shar'-ed files, inline UUencoded, or inline MIME. What makes
it an "attachment", is the MUA ability to present it and to manage it
as a distinct part of the email message, different from the headers and
different from the "textual" body. 

So, according to that, the inventor of the "attachment" was whoever wrote
the first MUA capable of presenting and managing certain body parts of
a RFC822 message as such separate entity. The "attachment", therefore,
would be a user interface design decision, undoubtedly facilitated by
some underlying technology such as uuencode which defined a boundary to
mark the 'begin' and 'end' of the inlined non-textual data.

But I have been wrong before - many times.

Josh Good

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