Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Kill SMTP, IMAP, POP et al? No, that is too provocative, but I keep reading more and more about not only spam, but now spam generating viruses which have security specialists stumped. While the alarm on spam has been sounded repeatedly over the last 12-18 months, are we in the middle of the unraveling of our email infrastructure? If we are a major superpower with a third-world powergrid, what about our email-grid? It is starting to look pretty vulnerable too.

Here's a heretical thought: maybe it's time to create a parallel, modern email grid. New, XML-based, REST-based, throw-in-your-favorite-fashionable-buzzword-based, messaging infrastructure. There are countless smart people who have enumerated all the weaknesses of our existing architecture, not only in terms of protocols, but also addressing, naming, security, identity and all and all.

Maybe this becomes the straw that breaks the camels back. Yes, people signing on to the new email grid would not be able to talk to the old one. (By design! - This is one time when backward compatibility and interop would actually be a bug.) But at some point it might just be a reasonable price to pay when our email-grid finally melts down. Maybe it's time to start thinking and talking about what we do then!

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