Petter Reinholdtsen

Time for an official MIME type for patches?
1st November 2018

As part of my involvement in the Nikita archive API project, I've been importing a fairly large lump of emails into a test instance of the archive to see how well this would go. I picked a subset of my notmuch email database, all public emails sent to me via, giving me a set of around 216 000 emails to import. In the process, I had a look at the various attachments included in these emails, to figure out what to do with attachments, and noticed that one of the most common attachment formats do not have an official MIME type registered with IANA/IETF. The output from diff, ie the input for patch, is on the top 10 list of formats included in these emails. At the moment people seem to use either text/x-patch or text/x-diff, but neither is officially registered. It would be better if one official MIME type were registered and used everywhere.

To try to get one official MIME type for these files, I've brought up the topic on the media-types mailing list. If you are interested in discussion which MIME type to use as the official for patch files, or involved in making software using a MIME type for patches, perhaps you would like to join the discussion?

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Tags: debian, english, standard.

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