home of the madduck/ blog/
Google Groups drops Sender field

If you are using Google Groups to host your project's mailing lists, you might want to consider moving your infrastructure to a more dependable and clueful operator.

"Why?", you might ask. Because Google has recently started to remove the Sender field from the mails they send out, even though the corresponding RFC says that this header SHOULD be included:

The "Sender:" field specifies the mailbox of the agent responsible for the actual transmission of the message. For example, if a secretary were to send a message for another person, the mailbox of the secretary would appear in the "Sender:" field and the mailbox of the actual author would appear in the "From:" field. If the originator of the message can be indicated by a single mailbox and the author and transmitter are identical, the "Sender:" field SHOULD NOT be used. Otherwise, both fields SHOULD appear.

According the RFC 2119, the word SHOULD suggests:

that there may exist valid reasons in particular circumstances to ignore a particular item, but the full implications must be understood and carefully weighed before choosing a different course.

Unfortunately, searching the Google Groups help for "sender" yields no results, so I find it a bit hard to believe that reasonable considerations preceded the change.

The only reason I could imagine was to save space and bandwidth, but if that was Google's goal, they'd do better in discontinuing the annoying multipart/alternative strategy of sending all e-mails in duplicate form, as plain-text, followed by HTML. Also, they could try trimming Received headers or deciding on which of the multiple representations of SPF or DKIM they'd like to use instead of bloating the headers.

The bottom line is that I have no other choice than to conclude that Google Groups isn't seriously operated, and hence I can only recommend everyone to move elsewhere.