Browse Prior Art Database

Proposed Mail Protocol (RFC0524) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000005907D
Original Publication Date: 1973-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-12
Document File: 40 page(s) / 46K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

J.E. White: AUTHOR

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC0524: DOI

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 6% of the total text.

Network Working Group J. White Request for Comments: 524 SRI-ARC NIC: 17140 13 June 1973

A Proposed Mail Protocol


This is the document I offered in (15146,) to write. It’s a proposed specification for handling mail in the Network -- a Mail Protocol.

Main handling is currently implemented as two FTP commands, MAIL and MLFL, which permit an FTP user process to deliver a file or string of text to an FTP server process, designating it as mail to be made available to a user, identified by a local name, in its host. The protocol proposed here is much richer than that, both in terms of the functions it supports, and in terms of the flexibility it provides.

Although one can (I think) and might, implement software on the basis of this document, this REALLY IS a Request for Comments. Comments, questions, position papers are solicited. There are, I’m sure, bugs in the protocol specified here, and I hope that readers will point them out via RFC as they discover them.

Various members of the Network community have, during the last few months, pointed out to me specific inadequacies in the existing mail commands and asked me to be conscious of them in designing a new protocol. I’ve tried to do that. If anyone feels that his concern wasn’t properly dealt with here, or that it slipped through the cracks entirely (for which I apologize in advance), I would appreciate it if he would prod me once more.



The Mail Protocol (MP) is implemented by Mail user and server processes, in keeping with the model for previous high-level protocols. The Mail user and server processes are further specified to be also FTP user and server processes, respectively. That is, MP is implemented as a set of commands accessible from within the FTP command space.

The MP command set is defined to lie conceptually within a subsystem, invoked from the FTP command space with the command MAIL <CFLF>.

White [Page 1]

RFC 524 A Proposed Mail Protocol 13 June 1973

NOTE: Since a command called ’MAIL’ already exists within the FTP command space, the command name ’XMAIL’ might substitute for ’MAIL’ while the current mail commands are being phased out.

The MP command set may or may not (according to the implementation of a particular server) be implemented by a process distinct from that which implements FTP proper.

The following are implications of the ’subsystem’ concept, of which the reader (and implementer) must be aware:

(1) Names of MP commands are known only within the MP subsystem. MP commands must (and should naturally) be rejected by the server if the user process presents them outside of the subsystem.

(2) Exit from the Mail subsystem (to the FTP command space) is effected with and only with the command EXIT <CRLF>. FTP commands must be rejected by the server if the user presents them while inside the subsystem (i.e., before EXIT is issued).

(3) The same command name may be assigned without ambiguity to two entirely different comman...