(O/T) human readability (was Re: Urgent: MailScanner apparently stopped processing...)

Julian Field mailscanner at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Fri May 9 21:47:51 IST 2003

At 20:33 09/05/2003, you wrote:
>El 9 May 2003 a las 17:13, Julian Field escribió:
> > At 08:01 09/05/2003, you wrote:
> > >On Fri, 9 May 2003, Julian Field wrote:
> > >
> > >  I checked and the message looks pretty mangled... but
> > >then again I'm not sure how readable the files in that format are supposed
> > >to be.
> >
> > The Postfix format is not meant to be human-readable. I know what it's
> > supposed to look like.
>Postfix queue files are binary?
>I might get flamed for this but, WHY???
>How much bandwidth/diskspace/whatever do they save by not making it human
>I might get flamed for this, but I think all protocols and file formats
>should be human-readable (not counting cryptography) "just in case"... just
>in case there is a bug, just in case the application broke, just in case you
>don't _have_ the application, whatever...
>Just my 2c.

Not only are they binary, but the record lengths require bit-shifting to 
unpack, so that Postfix can save a few bits on the length of each record. 
In the record length bytes, the bottom 7 bits are used to store part of the 
record length, and the 8th bit says that there is another 7 bits of length 
in the following byte.
Julian Field
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