Need email server aid

Christopher Chan christopher.chan at
Thu Apr 29 00:32:14 UTC 2010

On Thursday, April 29, 2010 03:01 AM, Alvin Thompson wrote:
> You don't have to read the whole thread; what it basically boils down to
> is the statements below. The givens are that you need to send messages
> from (or to) this device, it's the device that's automatically sending
> or receiving the messages, not the user, and your choices of technology
> is a mail server (SMTP) or a web server (HTTP):

He did not say he 'needs' to send messages to the device. He was mulling 
over what he should use for remote control of it which can be done by 
connecting to it by http or by getting a message to it.

> 1. I believe that the mail server (SMTP) is a better choice, because the
> protocol is more reliable.

You don't even know the needs and you have come to a conclusion?

> 2. Mr. Chan believes that how much more reliable SMTP is over HTTP is
> disputable, and any increase in reliability by using SMTP is not worth
> the added complexity.

Like when this is a product for the home. Setting up a smtp daemon to 
accept messages is not going to fly for the majority out there. 
Supporting a dedicated mailbox that can be accessed by pop3 or imap 
might fly since you are adding support for sending email out via 
smtp-auth if necessary so I take it you target users that are savvy enough.

> "Reliability" is defined, for our purposes, as the ability for a message
> to get through to its destination, without human intervention, in the
> presence of foreseeable obstacles.  For example, if the network
> connection goes down.

There is also the question of time depending on case need and in fact 
whether this 'extra' reliability is wanted.

> Most of the debate has centered on how much more reliable SMTP really
> is, and how much more complexity SMTP really adds (if any) over HTTP.
> Chris, would you agree that's a fair assessment?

Nope. I'd say, "Forget http, go smtp" is your angle and I was entirely 
focused on the extra work needed for smtp to work and other potential 
issues depending on case need whereas I should have just said: "email 
for remote control is a nice extra for edge cases but http is absolutely 
essential" and you were making it out that there are plenty of stuff 
that can be done to ensure that smtp is more reliable than http and 
therefore should be the only solution.

You and I would have no problem setting up whatever infrastructure 
necessary for remote control via email be it a mailbox per device or dns 
or specific routing rules so that emails would actually reach the 
devices. But I would not bother with a device that uses email as its 
sole method of remote control. I doubt that many would like to first 
setup a dedicated pop3/imap mailbox just for that let alone all the 
other stuff necessary if it used an smtp daemon.

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