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TCP/IP Guide by Charles M. Kozierok

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MIME Overview

The RFC 822 email message format is the standard for the exchange of email in TCP/IP internetworks. Its use of simple ASCII text makes it easy to create, process, and read email messages, which has contributed to the success of email as a worldwide communication method.

Unfortunately, while ASCII text is great for writing simple memorandums and other short messages, it provides no flexibility to support other types of communication. To allow email to carry multimedia information, arbitrary files, and messages in languages using character sets other than ASCII, the MIME standard was created.

Note

While MIME was developed specifically for email, its encoding and data representation methods have proven so useful that it has been adopted ...

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