Media Type 'application/atomicmail' Details

Media Type 'application/atomicmail' Details

Basic Info
Media Type application
subtype atomicmail
Registered? Yes
See also Borenstein

Tags: (none)

File Formats: (none)


MIME type name: application

MIME subtype name: atomicmail

Required parameters: none

Optional parameters: none

Encoding considerations: readable ascii, so quoted-printable is
preferred if any encoding is needed, e.g. for long lines.

Security considerations:  ATOMICMAIL is a language for secure and
portable interactive messaging.  Security was the major focus of the
language design.  The language is believed to be the first
general-purpose active messaging language without any serious security
problems, but no formal proof exists.  Specific ATOMICMAIL interpreters
are of course subject to bugs, which could include security holes. 
Users are cautioned to be very selective in their choice of interpreters
for the ATOMICMAIL language, and in particular should not accept or
install ATOMICMAIL interpreters from an untrusted source.  Give a safe
ATOMICMAIL implementation, it is safe to receive ATOMICMAIL programs in
the mail even from untrusted sources.

Published specification:  ATOICMAIL Language Reference Manual, by N. S.
Borenstein, Bellcore Technical Memorandum TM ARH-018429   

Person & email address to contact for further information:  Nathaniel
Borenstein <[email protected]>

From [email protected] Mon Jul 26 17:37:34 1993
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1993 11:20:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: Nathaniel Borenstein <[email protected]>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Atomicmail ?
Cc: [email protected]

Here's a standard blurb I offer people as a first cut at ATOMICMAIL
Thanks for your interest in ATOMICMAIL.  Here's some information that
may be useful to you.

ATOMICMAIL was an experimental research project at Bellcore.  The
ATOMICMAIL programming langauge was a language designed for including
programs in electronic mail messages.  When you read your mail, the
programs would be executed automatically, with a portable user
and with security features that prevented the abuse of the language
malicious purposes.  It has been used experimentally for several years
in a user community of several hundred people.

The experiment led to some useful insights about incorporating
interactive programs into electronic mail, but it was never really
designed for widespread use or standardization.  It ignored a few
that were not germane to the research but are critical for wider use,
and it was never approved by Bellcore for public release.  The best
publication regarding ATOMICMAIL was a paper I presented which is
available in the CSCW '92 conference proceedings.  (If you want a copy
and the proceedings aren't easily available, I can send you the text

At this point, however,  ATOMICMAIL is rapidly becoming obsolete in
favor of a superior and more open technology, "safe-tcl".  This is a
language for mail-enabled applications based on the Tcl/Tk language
John Ousterhout at UC Berkeley.  We're hoping to have a working
implementation of this language freely available by the fall of 1993. 
Meanwhile, for information (in the form of draft specs) you can get
files via anonymous ftp from, directory
where you'll find 3 files, I think.  There's also a mailing list,
secure-tcl[-request], which you might be interested

Let me know if I can be of further help!  -- Nathaniel