Computer mail meeting notes (RFC0805)
Original Publication Date: 1982-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-14
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
This RFC consists of notes from a meeting that was held at USC Information Sciences Institute on 11 January 1982, to discuss addressing issues in computer mail. The major conclusion reached at the meeting is to extend the "username@hostname" mailbox format to "firstname.lastname@example.org", where the domain itself can be further strutured.
Network Working Group J. Postel Request for Comments: 805 ISI 8 February 1982
Computer Mail Meeting Notes
A meeting was held on the 11th of January 1982 at USC Information Sciences Institute to discuss addressing issues in computer mail. The attendees are listed at the end of this memo. The major conclusion reached at the meeting is to extend the "username@hostname" mailbox format to "email@example.com", where the domain itself can be further structured.
The meeting opened with a brief discussion of the objectives of the meeting and a review of the agenda.
The meeting was called to discuss a few specific issues in text mail systems for the ARPA Internet. In particular, issues of addressing are of major concern as we develop an internet in which mail relaying is a common occurance. We need to discuss alternatives in the design of the mail system to provide high utility at reasonable cost. One scheme suggested is to create "mail domains" which are another level of addressing. The ad hoc scheme of source routing, while effective for some cases, is seen to lead to some problems. A key test of addressing schemes is the procedure for sending copies of a reply to a message to the people who received copies of the original message. The key reference documents for the meeting were RFCs 788, 799, and 801.
Jon Postel gave a brief review of the NCP-to-TCP transition plan (RFC 801). The emphasis was on mail, the internet host table, and the role of a Host Name Server.
The major part of the meeting was devoted to a wide ranging discussion of the general mailbox identification problem. In particular, the notion of a hierarchial structure of name domains was discussed, and the issues associated with name servers were discussed including the types of information name servers should provide.
One of the interesting ideas that emerged from this discussion was that the "user@host" model of a mailbox identifier should, in
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Computer Mail Meeting Notes 8 February 1982
principle, be replaced by a "unique-id@location-id" model, where the unique-id would be a globally unique id for this mailbox (independent of location) and the location-id would be advice about where to find the mailbox. However, it was recognized that the "user@host" model was well established and that so many different elaborations of the "user" field were already in use that there was no point in persuing this "unique-id" idea at this time.
Several alternatives for the structuring and ordering of the extensions to the "host" field to make it into a general "location-id" were discussed.
These basically involved adding more hierarchical name information either to the right or the left of the @, with the "higher order" portion rightmost or leftmost. It was clear that the information content of all these syntactic alternatives was the same, so that the one causing least difficulty for existing systems should be chosen. Hence it was decided to add all...