RFC 196 (rfc196) - Page 1 of 4

Mail Box Protocol

Alternative Format: Original Text Document

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NETWORK WORKING GROUP                      Richard W. Watson
Request for Comments #196                  SRI-ARC
NIC 7141                                   July 20, 1971
Categories: A.5, D.7
Obsoletes: none
Updates: none

                      A MAIL BOX PROTOCOL

The purpose of this 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 on 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.

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 site without having to know the details of path name
conventions and file system commands at each site.  Multiple mail
boxes (128) 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.

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

Although this protocol will enable people to transmit messages
directly without going through the NIC, we want to encourage
people to use the NIC as much as possible, so that dialogue will
be recorded, cataloged and available for viewing online at NIC,
using the powerful facilities of the ARC on Line System (NLS).

The Mail Box Protocol will use established network conventions,
specifically the Network Control Program, Initial Connection
Protocol, and Data Transfer Protocol, NIC 7104.

The normal transmission is to be full 7-bit ASCII in 8-bit bytes,
the high order bit set to zero.

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