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From "Vikram Goyal" <>
Subject [Codec] RFC2045 Anomaly?
Date Sat, 22 Nov 2003 02:39:25 GMT

I have been losing sleep over this for the past few days and I am now not
sure if there is something wrong with RFC2045 or my interpretation of it. I
am hoping someone can confirm that it is the latter.

I have come across this while writing a chapter on Codec and hence my
detailed examination of the said rfc for Base64 transformations. Here is a
link to this rfc:

Consider section 6, second paragraph:

"It is necessary, therefore, to define a standard mechanism for encoding
such data into a 7bit short line format".

This line establishes that the document defines a mechanism for encoding
data into 7bit format. Good. It then goes on to describe two such encoding
mechanisms, the quoted-printable and Base64. Thus we can agree that
Quoted-Printable and/or Base64 encoded data is in 7bit format.

Now consider section 2.7 (definition of 7bit data), second sentence:

"No octets with decimal values greater than 127 are allowed and neither are
NULs (octets with decimal value 0).  "

By this definition, 7bit data must not include NUL data, that is an octet
with decimal value 0.

Now, if we look at the Base 64 vocabulary, we can see that a value of 52 is
encoded as 0, which is in opposition to the sentence above.

The easy explanation for this, which does seem to make more sense now that I
think about it, is that the Base64 vocabulary does not include octets,
instead, it has sixtets converted into textual characters. However, the
nagging doubt with this is, that a 0 in an octet, is the same as a 0 in a



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