Mailing List Message #5768
From: Bill Cole <>
Subject: Re: SIMS and SMS
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 21:15:56 -0400
To: SIMS Discussions <>
At 9:52 PM +0100 4/15/00, Nicholas Horwood  imposed structure on a stream
of electrons, yielding:
>Hi there
>I am using a form to post text to an SMS gateway. I have SIMS as the mail
>transport agent, and when I send characters such as
>"?" or "!" or ":)" all I get on the mobile phone is what looks like their
>encoded equivalent, such as "=2D" or "=3C" "5E" etc.
>I have tried this using the same gateway, but with a different mail
>transport agent, and I get the characters fine.
>Does anyone know what I am doing wrong?

Welcome to the ugly backward-compatibility hacks underneath Internet e-mail...

It sounds like your web posting agent is seeing the SIMS response to EHLO
(no 8BITMIME response saying that it can handle 8-bit characters in
message bodies) and is assuming the worst, that SIMS will mangle
everything it legally can. So it is doing Quoted-Printable encoding,  SIMS
is passing the message along untouched, and apparently the far end isn't
decoding it.  The far end probably should decode the message because there
are a lot of cases where QP is the best solution to unclear MTA
capabilities and messages can end up being in QP without the sender
choosing it.  The posting agent probably should be more conservative in
its encoding choices but it isn't. Encoding the punctuation you cite is
not needed but is often done to make sure that any EBCDIC systems (!)
don't mangle things.

No one is really wrong in this. The posting agent is being anal about what
it sends: it sees what looks like an unextended mail server and is
encoding the message against any possible problem. SIMS doesn't advertise
its ability to pass 8-bit messages because it doesn't handle having to
pass an 8-bit message along to a REAL 7-bit server. The SMS system at the
far end isn't really doing anything wrong, because it probably isn't
designed to handle anything more than simple MIME-free messages.

Probably the easiest place to fix this would be in whatever is talking to
SIMS. If you can make it never do any encoding no matter what, you are
probably going to fix the problem.

Bill Cole

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