Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(November 1999)

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Subject: Re: AOL
From: "Bernie Cosell" <bernie @ fantasyfarm . com>
Organization: Fantasy Farm Fibers
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 07:59:05 -0500
To: <list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM>
In-reply-to: <>
References: <>
Reply-to: bernie @ fantasyfarm . com

On 15 Nov 99, at 14:26, Nick Simicich wrote:

> Also, AOL is basically in complete violation of RFCs by not bouncing the
> mail to the RFC821 MAIL FROM address.  They can get away with it, because
> they are big. 

Actually, "roll your own" is done by a *LOT* of hosts/servers these days. 
I've chatted with several [often with me being outraged over some offense 
or another, exactly of this type] and they just say that the RFCs never 
anticipated the kind of volumes that are reality today, and they 
certainly never anticipated the hostile envionrment that is reality 
today.  In order to *survive* and deal with it at all, they've had to 
improvise a bit, hopefully in the spirit of the protocols and in 
anticipation of 'official' sanctioning in future versions of the protocol 
[when/if anything ever gets revised]... but now is now and they have to 

in a case like this (bouncing), I'd be that they're damned if they do and 
damned if they don't.  Because of the volumes they have to deal with, 
*nothing* that they do is going to be 'right' and make everyone happy.

> I suspect, for private reasons, that AOL's e-mail system was designed by a
> moron studying to be an idiot.

Really?  I've designed systems like this and I am *constantly* in awe of 
the folks at AOL who designed [and run] their email system.  I cannot 
*conceive* of how I'd handle the 
authentication/delivery/retrieval/forwarding/filtering machinery for a 
mail server that has to handle 14 million [or more with aliases and such] 
email addresses and mailboxes, and god knows how much actual email each 

No slight intended, but I can't help but think that anyone who thinks 
that AOL's mail-handling problems are even tractable [much less "simple"] 
just doesn't really understand the problem...

Bernie Cosell                     Fantasy Farm Fibers     Pearisburg, VA
    -->  Too many people, too few sheep  <--          

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    From: Nick Simicich <>
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