Browse Prior Art Database

Mail transition plan (RFC0771) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000003819D
Original Publication Date: 1980-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-14
Document File: 9 page(s) / 11K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

V.G. Cerf: AUTHOR [+1]

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC0771: DOI

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 20% of the total text.

Network Working Group V. Cerf (ARPA) Request for Comments: 771 J. Postel (ISI) September 1980



This is a draft memo and comments are requested.


The principal aim of the mail service transition plan is to provide orderly support for computer mail service during the period of transition from the old ARPANET protocols to the new Internet protocols.

This plan covers only the transition from the current text computer mail in the ARPANET environment to text computer mail in an Internet environment. This plan does not address a second transition from text only mail to multimedia mail [10,11].

The goal is to provide equivalent or better service in the new Internet environment as was available in the ARPANET environment. During the interim period, when both protocol environments are in use, the goal is to minimize the impact on users and existing software, yet to permit the maximum mail exchange connectivity.

It is assumed that the user is familiar with both the ARPANET and Internet protocol environments [1-8]. The Internet protocols are designed to be used in a diverse collection of networks including the ARPANET, Packet Radio nets, Satellite nets, and local nets (e.g., Ethernets, Ring nets); while the ARPANET protocol are, of course, limited to the ARPANET.

The Internet protocol environment specifies TCP as the host-to-host transport protocol. The ARPANET protocol environment specifies NCP as the host-to-host transport protocol. Both TCP and NCP provide connection type process-to-process communication. The problem in the transition is to bridge these two different interprocess communication systems.

The objective of this plan is to specify the means by which the ARPANET computer mail services may be extended into the Internet system without disruptive changes for the users during the transition.


September 1980 RFC 771 Mail Transition Plan


The model of the computer mail system taken here separates the mail composition and reading functions from the mail transport functions. In the following, the discussion will be hoplessly TOPS20-oriented. We appologize to users of other systems, but we feel it is better to discuss examples we know than to attempt to be abstract.

In the ARPANET mail service, composition and reading is done with user programs such as HERMES, MSG, MM, etc., while mail transmission is done by system programs such as MAILER (sending) and FTPSRV (receiving).

One element of the ARPANET mail service is the assumption that every source of mail can have a direct interprocess communication connection (via the NCPs) to every destination for mail. (There are some cases where special handling and forwarding of mail violates this assumption.)

Mailbox names are of the form "MAILBOX@HOST", and it is assumed that MAILBOX is a destination mailbox on that host.

The messages are actually transmitted according to the provisions of the File Transfer Protocol. Mail may be transimitted via ei...