HTML by default in KMail

Yuval Levy ubuntu08 at
Thu Aug 12 01:06:24 BST 2010

On August 9, 2010 11:52:15 pm Tres Finocchiaro wrote:
> I work in a medium sized organization (5,000 employees, 1,000 email users).

Thank you for sharing your personal circumstances.  I am not sure if a reply 
in kind would be off-topic.  I already feel guilty of straying this thread.

> I have never met
> an individual outside of a development shop or IT department that prefers
> plain text/fixed font emails.

Have you ever met an individual that prefers work to leisure?

I recently had the opportunity to consult a small law firm on productivity.  
We filmed a day of a clerk at the desktop.  Then we turned HTML off (both 
reading and writing) and filmed again.  Productivity soared (>5%).

Most savings were in the writing (formatting as "personal touch").  The 
problem with HTML-reading is that it induces a loop of self-reinforcing 
feedback that in the end affects writing (and thus the whole general public on 
the receiving end).  Else I would not mind an individual wasting their time.

> I am a developer, so I agree with the developers that html formatting is
> annoyingly abused and is generally not helpful

I'm coming from a different perspective to reach the same conclusion.

> *but I cannot ignore the fact that the industry is
> using it and people are buying it because thats what they want*.

Can you ignore that the industry is using the internal combustion engine and 
people are buying it?  It's not because that's what they want.  It's because 
they don't know any better (yet).

> Fixed fonts were invented for typewriters

and SMS was invented for diagnostic messaging.  Then somebody else found a 
killer app for it.

Speed-reading research shows that fixed-width fonts enables faster reading 
because the brain uses the invisible grid for faster word recognition.  I 
don't know you, but in most cases I definitely prefer to get done faster with 
reading email and move on to the next activity.

> the *New York Times* (<--
> Underlined) still uses variable width font on it's entire newspaper to fit
> more content in a smaller area.

And variable width also looks better (kerning).  There are many arguments for 
one or another type of font.  And the decision is not black & white.  I still 
argue that for me email is better in plain text with a fixed width font 
because it helps me process it quickly and efficiently.

> @Yuv:  If my comments about installing PINE struck a cord, then I'm sorry.
>  I'm not sure what is driving the singled out attacks, and I'm as
> passionate as the next person about the usability of KDE, but I think
> you're going about it from the wrong direction.  If you feel I threw the
> first flame then here's my apology.  Please don't destroy a great
> conversation.

@Tres:  You did not offend me and I do not see where you find personal attacks 
in my disagreement with your statements.  If my comments offended you, please 
accept my apology.  I did/do not intend to flame you, and I do not feel flamed 
by you.  I do feel that this thread has digressed too much from its original 
search for arguments for or against HTML in KMail, which is why initially I 
took the shortcut of expressing doubt about your competence in the matter 
(reading email) rather than addressing each single statement individually.  I 
am sorry to have contributed to the digression.  I am sorry to have stated my 
opinion which anyway does not really matter much in this context.

eMail is dying.  The young generation is texting and tweeting (in plain text).  
More than 80% of the email messages hitting SMTP servers are spam and HTML 
played a significant role in getting us there.  More HTML will only accelerate 
the inevitable.

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