Thursday, January 08, 2009

Fun With Mail Headers

Microsoft Outlook looks for a special email header, X-Message-Flag, and if found, will display a message to the user in the message dialog along with a red flag. If you mail client (MUA) permits the creation of custom headers, you can create an X-Message-Flag header and assign some arbitrary text string to it. Only users of Microsoft's Outlook will see the message.

Some of the messages are funny, some pro-Linux, some anti-Microsoft, some informative, some just stupid. A few example messages are:

Warning: Outlook transmits Viruses! Upgrade to Linux Now!
Using Microsoft software might be a security risk.
If you can read this, you're too close!

Message text blocked: VIOLATION OF US 1201(a)(3)

Warning: message not sent with a DRM-Certified client User-Agent.
Warning: Your mail program does not comply with RFC 1855.
Magic 8-Ball says Outlook Not Good.

Outlook : A program designed to spread viri, but it can do mail too. Linux : The choice of a GNU generation. OUTLOOK
ERROR: Large chicken feathers stuck in power supply fan.

Outlook? -->

Warning: May contain useless information.

A: Top-posting. Q: What is the most annoying thing in e-mail?
Verify all chain emails at
Please do not top-post in your reply.
Please use plain text when replying--not HTML.

This page describes a perl script that substitutes randomly select messages as the message in the header. You could easily substitute less vitriolic messages for those suggested.

My favorite:

Outlook has determined that you are not wearing any underwear.

Wow! How does it know?

You can also find fun things and additional information at The Anti-Outlook Page.

While this information is intended for Linux users, whose email programs allow easy access to all configuration options, this page talks about how MS Outlook users can get in on the fun.

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