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AFW - Signatures - Why?

As signatures are the objects of discussion on AFW let me give you a quick look at their history:

In the olden days of Usenet the Internet consisted of many different kinds of nets already. Users of different sub-nets possibly had their own address method. Sending a message to someone required the knowledge of the kind of address a user had. Sometimes you even had to know which exchange hosts to use between yourself and the recipient. Addresses of this kind often used the exclamation mark to separate the hostnames on the "path". For example: host3!host2!host1!user As an exclamation mark was also called "bang" the resulting path was called the "bang path".

The real trouble was that depending on the net in which you read a message, you had to use a different address to reply to the message sender. You could, of course, look up the exchange addressing in some files - but who really wanted to do that? So the senders resorted to add this addressing information in each of their messages by appending them. The "signature" was born.

As the address was required with every reply you sent, people attached their address to each and every mail or post they sent away. So the appending of the signature was added as a feature to mail and news clients (aka "mailer" and "newsreader").

So the information of the signature was put into a file which was attached manually to the end of the mail or post. As this info was usually put at the very end it was called a "signature". And that's why most user clients just append whatever is in the file "$HOME/.signature".

So people used a signature to give information about their address. That is why a *real* signature consists of two things:

That's it!

-> signature problems

Sven Guckes <>
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