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Postmaster Convention for X.400 Operations (RFC1648) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000002484D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-12
Document File: 4 page(s) / 6K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

A. Cargille: AUTHOR

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC1648: DOI


This paper extends this concept to X.400 mail domains which have registered RFC 1327 mapping rules, and which therefore appear to have normal RFC822-style addresses. [STANDARDS-TRACK]

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Network Working Group A. Cargille Request for Comments: 1648 University of Wisconsin Category: Standards Track July 1994

Postmaster Convention for X.400 Operations

Status of this Memo

This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state and status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


Both STD 11, RFC 822 [1] and STD 3, RFC 1123 [2] (Host Requirements) require that the email address "postmaster" be supported at all hosts. This paper extends this concept to X.400 mail domains which have registered RFC 1327 mapping rules, and which therefore appear to have normal RFC822-style addresses.

1. Postmaster Convention in RFC822

Operating a reliable, large-scale electronic mail (email) network requires cooperation between many mail managers and system administrators. As noted in RFC 822 [1], often mail or system managers need to be able to contact a responsible person at a remote host without knowing any specific user name or address at that host. For that reason, both RFC 822 and the Internet Host Requirements [2] require that the address "postmaster" be supported at every Internet host.

2. Postmaster Convention and X.400

However, RFC 822 is not the only email protocol being used in the Internet. Some Internet sites are also running the X.400 (1984) [3] and X.400 (1988) [4] email protocols. RFC 1327 specifies how to map between X.400 and RFC 822 addresses [5]. When mapping rules are used, addresses map cleanly between X.400 and RFC 822. In fact, it is impossible to determine by inspecting the address whether the recipient is an RFC 822 mail user or an X.400 mail user.

A paper by Rob Hagens and Alf Hansen describes an X.400 community known as the "Global Open MHS Community" (GO-MHS) [6]. Many mail domains in the GO-MHS Community have registered RFC 1327 mapping rules. Therefore, users in those domains have RFC 822-style email

Cargille [Page 1]

RFC 1648 X.400 Postmaster Convention July 1994

addresses, and these email domains are a logical extension of the RFC 822 Internet. It is impossible to tell by inspecting a user’s address whether the user receives RFC 822 mail or X.400 mail.

Since these addresses appear to be standard RFC 822 addresses, mail managers, mailing list managers, host administrators, and users expect to be able to simply send mail to "postmaster@domain" and having the message be delivered to a responsible party. When an RFC 1327 mapping rule exists, the X.400 address element corresponding to the left-hand-side "postmaster" is "Surname=Postmaster" (both 1984 and 1988). However, neither the X.400 protocols, North America X.400 Implementor’s Agreements [7], nor the other regional X.400 implementor’s agreements require that "Surname=Postmaster" and "CommonName=Postmaster" be supported. (Supporting thes...