RFC 221 (rfc221) - Page 1 of 5

Mail Box Protocol: Version 2

Alternative Format: Original Text Document

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Network Working Group                                          R. Watson
Request for Comments: 221                                        SRI-ARC
NIC: 7612                                                 25 August 1971

                     A Mail Box Protocol, Version-2


   Initial reaction to RFC 196, "A Mail Box Protocol", NIC (7141,)
   indicates general agreement on the need for such a mechanism.  The
   conventions suggested in RFC 196 assumed only the use of the Data
   Transfer Protocol (in NIC 7104) in order to simplify an initial
   implementation.  The valid argument, we believe, has been made that
   sites will also implement the File Transfer Protocol and that as much
   as possible the Mail Box Protocol should be a subset of it.  This
   version is in answer to this suggestion.

   The purpose of a mail box 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 in 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.

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

   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 sites
   without having to know the details of path name conventions and file
   system commands at each site.  Multiple mail boxes (256) 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

   The only place where the Mail Box Protocol has a potential conflict
   with the File Transfer Protocol is in file naming conventions.  The
   File Transfer Protocol assumes that the using site will use a
   filename which follows the access and file path name conventions of


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