A lot of current e‐mail systems are ASCII text‐based, e.g. the e‐mail system in Internet. In the coming era of multimedia, e‐mails will be composed of other non‐text‐based information. This paper presents an evolution approach to enhance the capabilities of the current text‐based e‐mail systems. Using the proposed approach, an adapter is added to the top of the current system. As a result, multimedia e‐mails can be transmitted without changing the kernel part of the existing systems. We also propose an encoding scheme that has a 7/8 bandwidth utilization rate. Using this encoding scheme, all of the non‐ASCII data formats, e.g. image, voice, graphics, and so on, will be transformed to the ASCII data formats. Recently, we have developed an experimental multimedia e‐mail system using the proposed method. Our system has been developed on SUN SPARC workstations and an X‐window‐based user‐interface is provided in the system.
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