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standards compliance

This statement occasionally uses terms that appear in capital letters. When the terms "MUST", "SHOULD", "RECOMMENDED", "MUST NOT", "SHOULD NOT", and "MAY" appear capitalized, they are being used to indicate particular requirements of this specification. A discussion of the meanings of these terms appears in [RFC2119]."

It is the existence of published "open" standards which allows independant teams to develop interoperable software.

James attempts to support a number of these standards (most of which are IETF RFC's) and in the areas covered by these standards the published standard is our requirements document.

This sometimes leads to confusion where behaviour is not the subject of a relevant standard, or conflict where common (de-facto) behaviour is actually at odds with a supported standard.

We believe that it is our responsibility to adhere to the published standard. If we allow our implementation to deviate it means that we are tacitly encouraging the situation whereby interoperability is no longer guarenteed by standards compliance alone, but also requires access to undocumented and possibly even commercially licenced technology. There is no easy route for a newcomer to aquire these secrets, and interoperabilty becomes something only available to the elite.

The James policy for issues of non-compliance tries to tread the fine line between a pragmatic acceptance of differing interpretation and defects in implmenentations of the RFC's and an evangelical defence of open standards as the key to freedom of interoperation.

In practice this policy is that certain well argued of cases of non-compliance which can be *safely* worked around, will be tolerated by James.

In cases (like jira issue JAMES-344) where variance from a published standard is required this functionality SHOULD be disabled in James by default, it MUST be prominently and clearly documented that this causes James to violate the relevant standard and SHOULD require to be enabled by explicit configuration, making its use a conscious decision of the user rather than a decision taken by the James team.

The feature MUST be clearly documented and the documentation MUST contain the following statement which MUST describe every violation of each standard with which James claims to comply which is enabled by the feature:

  • Certain features allow Apache James to handle mail which has been constructed or sent in a manner not in compliance with the standards which James implements.

    The feature documented here permits James to handle messages which do not comply with the following standards which James claims to implement:

    RFC XXXX para Y.Y

    This feature has been disabled by default because James developers intend that James itself fully complies with the relevant published standards in the form in which it is distributed.

    The James project's policy is to encourage the developers of other email software to comply with published standards. It is only by all parties conforming to published standards that interoperability can be guaranteed, this is a fundamental charateristic of the internet.

    You are free to enable this feature which has been developed for your benefit as carefully as any of James' other features.

In cases where the required behaviour is not within the scope of any standard which James claims to support (such as behaviour which is a de-facto standard or an internet draft RFC but not yet subject of a standards track RFC) it is acceptable to implement the behaviour but it SHOULD be adequately documented (for instance by refrence to an internet draft or other public document) so that users can be clear about its status and what to expect from James.

StandardsComplianceStatement (last edited 2009-09-20 22:58:24 by localhost)