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Mail Box Protocol: Version 2 (RFC0221)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000005386D
Original Publication Date: 1971-Aug-27
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Sep-21
Document File: 6 page(s) / 10K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

R.W. Watson: AUTHOR

Abstract

Initial reaction to RFC 196, "A Mail Box Protocol", NIC (7141,) indicates general agreement on the need for such a mechanism. The conventions suggested in RFC 196 assumed only the use of the Data Transfer Protocol (in NIC 7104) in order to simplify an initial implementation. The valid argument, we believe, has been made that sites will also implement the File Transfer Protocol and that as much as possible the Mail Box Protocol should be a subset of it. This version is in answer to this suggestion.

This text was extracted from a ASCII document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 34% of the total text.

Network Working Group R. Watson Request for Comments: 221 SRI-ARC NIC: 7612 25 August 1971

A Mail Box Protocol, Version-2

INTRODUCTION

Initial reaction to RFC 196, "A Mail Box Protocol", NIC (7141,) indicates general agreement on the need for such a mechanism. The conventions suggested in RFC 196 assumed only the use of the Data Transfer Protocol (in NIC 7104) in order to simplify an initial implementation. The valid argument, we believe, has been made that sites will also implement the File Transfer Protocol and that as much as possible the Mail Box Protocol should be a subset of it. This version is in answer to this suggestion.

The purpose of a mail box 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 in 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.

A mail box, as we see it, is simply a write only (from the Network) sequential file to which messages and documents are appended, separated by an appropriate site dependent code.

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 sites without having to know the details of path name conventions and file system commands at each site. Multiple mail boxes (256) 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.

The only place where the Mail Box Protocol has a potential conflict with the File Transfer Protocol is in file naming conventions. The File Transfer Protocol assumes that the using site will use a filename which follows the access and file path name conventions of

Watson [Page 1]

RFC 221 MAIL BOX PROTOCOL, VERSION-2 25 August 1971

the serving site and that this information would be supplied by the user. In the Mail Box protocol we would like not to have to explicitly know the path name conventions at each site.

In other words there is a need for a network virtual pathname convention. We did not want to solve this problem in general at this time and in RFC 196, NIC 7141, proposed the use of a separate socket for mail type delivery and the use of an integer 0-127 to specify the address of a specific file (Mail Box) to be appended to as the simplest form of network-wide standard file name convention for an initia...