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Interactive Mail Access Protocol: Version 2 (RFC1064)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000001872D
Original Publication Date: 1988-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-12
Document File: 20 page(s) / 52K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

M.R. Crispin: AUTHOR

Abstract

The intent of the Interactive Mail Access Protocol, Version 2 (IMAP2) is to allow a workstation or similar small machine to access electronic mail from a mailbox server. IMAP2 is the protocol used by the SUMEX-AIM MM-D (MM Distributed) mail system.

This text was extracted from a ASCII document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 5% of the total text.

Network Working Group M. Crispin

Request for Comments: 1064 SUMEX-AIM

July 1988

INTERACTIVE MAIL ACCESS PROTOCOL - VERSION 2

Status of this Memo

This RFC suggests a method for workstations to dynamically access

mail from a mailbox server ("repository"). This RFC specifies a

standard for the SUMEX-AIM community and a proposed experimental

protocol for the Internet community. Discussion and suggestions for

improvement are requested. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Introduction

The intent of the Interactive Mail Access Protocol, Version 2 (IMAP2)

is to allow a workstation or similar small machine to access

electronic mail from a mailbox server. IMAP2 is the protocol used by

the SUMEX-AIM MM-D (MM Distributed) mail system.

Although different in many ways from POP2 (RFC 937), IMAP2 may be

thought of as a functional superset of POP2, and the POP2 RFC was

used as a model for this RFC. There was a cognizant reason for this;

RFC 937 deals with an identical problem and it was desirable to offer

a basis for comparison.

Like POP2, IMAP2 specifies a means of accessing stored mail and not

of posting mail; this function is handled by a mail transfer protocol

such as SMTP (RFC 821). A comparison with the DMSP protocol of

PCMAIL can be found at the end of "System Model and Philosophy"

section.

This protocol assumes a reliable data stream such as provided by TCP

or any similar protocol. When TCP is used, the IMAP2 server listens

on port 143.

System Model and Philosophy

Electronic mail is a primary means of communication for the widely

spread SUMEX-AIM community. The advent of distributed workstations

is forcing a significant rethinking of the mechanisms employed to

manage such mail. With mainframes, each user tends to receive and

process mail at the computer he used most of the time, his "primary

host". The first inclination of many users when an independent

workstation is placed in front of them is to begin receiving mail at

the workstation, and, in fact, many vendors have implemented

facilities to do this. However, this approach has several

disadvantages:

(1) Workstations (especially Lisp workstations) have a software

design that gives full control of all aspects of the system to the

user at the console. As a result, background tasks, like

receiving mail, could well be kept from running for long periods

of time either because the user is asking to use all of the

ma...