Mail Box Protocol (RFC0196)
Original Publication Date: 1971-Jul-20
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-13
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
The purpose of this protocol is to provide at each site a standard mechanism to receive sequential files for immediate or deferred printing or other uses. The files for deferred printing would probably be stored on intermediate disk files, although details of how a file is handled, stored, manipulated, or printed at a site are not the concern of this protocol.
NETWORK WORKING GROUP Richard W. Watson
Request for Comments #196 SRI-ARC
NIC 7141 July 20, 1971
Categories: A.5, D.7
A MAIL BOX PROTOCOL
The purpose of this protocol is to provide at each site a
standard mechanism to receive sequential files for immediate or
deferred printing or other uses. The files for deferred printing
would probably be stored on intermediate disk files, although
details of how a file is handled, stored, manipulated, or printed
at a site are not the concern of this protocol.
It is also assumed that there would be a program at the sending
site which sends the file in the format given below with the
optional control codes when appropriate. This program could
probably be accessed as a subcommand of the Telnet program.
The motivation for developing this protocol is the Network
Information Center's (NIC) need to be able to deliver messages
and documents to remote sites, and to be able to receive
documents for cataloging, redistribution, and other purposes from
remote site without having to know the details of path name
conventions and file system commands at each site. Multiple mail
boxes (128) are allowed at each site and are identified as
described below. The default is mail box number 0 for use with
the standard mail printer defined below.
A mail box, as we see it, is simply a sequential file to which
messages and documents are appended, separated by an appropriate
site dependent code.
Although this protocol will enable people to transmit messages
directly without going through the NIC, we want to encourage
people to use the NIC as much as possible, so that dialogue will
be recorded, cataloged and available for viewing online at NIC,
using the powerful facilities of the ARC on Line System (NLS).
The Mail Box Protocol will use established network conventions,
specifically the Network Control Program, Initial Connection
Protocol, and Data Transfer Protocol, NIC 7104.
The normal transmission is to be full 7-bit ASCII in 8-bit bytes,
the high order bit set to zero.
A MAIL BOX PROTOCOL RFC 196 NIC 7141
The standard receiving mail printer for mail box number 0 is
assumed to have a print line 72 characters wide, and a page of 66
lines. The new line convention will be carriage return (X'OD')
followed by line feed (X'OA') as per the Telnet Protocol RFC 158,
NIC 6768. The standard printer will accept form feed (X'OC') as
meaning move paper to the top of a new page.
It is the senders responsibility to control the length of the
print line and page. If more than 72 characters per line are sent
or if more than 66 lines are sent without a form feed, than the
receiving site can handle these situations as appropriate for
them. These conventions can be changed by control codes as
A message or document being sent to any mail box is a string of 8
At the head of the message or document sent to mail box number 0