From the the two methods of encoding 8-bit data as human-readable ASCII, for a time, uuencode format was more popular. USENET 'binaries' groups were filled with uuencoded posts with whatever goodies were shared. The format was quite robust, insensitive to line breaks (if your mail program reflowed the text, for uuencode you could still decode the file) and the uuencode/uudecode programs were quite user-friendly.
Base64 was not nearly so well liked. Some people would post base64-encoded binaries, arousing mild ire from these, who didn't have decoders. It was sensitive to formatting and white spaces. I'm not entirely sure, but I think it generated a little bigger output too.
Then I was off-the-loop for a time, and when I came back to the Unix and Linux world, uuencode was dead, and wherever 7-bit was still needed, Base64 ruled, and rules to this day.
What happened? What events led to base64 winning the format war?