|Title||Revision of the Mail Box Protocol
|Author||A.K. Bhushan, R.T. Braden, E.
Harslem, J.F. Heafner, A.M. McKenzie, J.T. Melvin, R.L. Sundberg,
R.W. Watson, J.E. White
NWG/RFC# 278 RWW 17-NOV-71 14:12 8056
Revision of the Mail Box Protocol
NETWORK WORKING GROUP Abhay Bhushan, MIT-DMCG
Request for Comments #278 Bob Braden, UCLA-CCN
NIC 8056 Eric Harslem, RAND
Categories: A.5, O.7 John Heafner, RAND
Obsoletes RFC 221, NIC 7612 Alex McKenzie, BBN-NET
John Melvin, SRI-ARC
Bob Sundberg, HARV
Dick Watson, SRI-ARC
Jim White, UCSB
REVISION OF THE MAIL BOX PROTOCOL
The file transfer committee met and discussed the Mail Box Protocol
RFC 221, NIC 7612. The potential utility for the mechanism was
confirmed and a couple of changes suggested. We first give the
changes and then restate the Protocol.
1) The Mail Box Protocol is only to allow ASCII stings of text
formatted for a network standard line printer rather than allowing
other data types.
2) A new command is to be added to the File Transfer Protocol called
"Append With Create" which appends to a file if the file exists, and
creates a file if it does not exist.
3) The standard path name for the mailbox is to be, using conventional
"MAIL" <separator> ("PRINTER"/<ident>)
<separator> is the ASCII GS, octal 035. The semantics of
the above are the following:
<ident> is a NIC IDENT
"MAIL" <separator> "PRINTER" would be interpreted by the
receiving site as meaning Append With Create the
transmitted file to a bulk mail file to be printed or
directly output it to a printer.
"MAIL" <separator> <ident> would be interpreted to mean
1) The same as "MAIL" <separator> "PRINTER" i.e., ignore
2) Append With Create the following file to a file
specifically for the person designated by <ident> for
either online access or printing or both.
The problem of delivering mail to TIPs was discussed.
At the moment TIPs support only the Telnet Protocol, but it is planned
to support the Data Transfer Protocol. TIPs will have an ASCII line
printer available as an optional device. People desiring to send a
mail item to a TIP with a printer can open a standard published socket
and transmit to it with Telnet Protocol now, later also with the Data
Transfer Protocol. The NIC's plans with regard to TIPs is not to do
automatic network delivery to them. Messages to people using TIPs can
be sent to them through the NIC and will be delivered as with everyone
else directly to the person's initial file at the NIC. The TIP user
can read the item online or obtain a hardcopy at his terminal with the
Output Device Teletype command of NLS.
MAIL BOX PROTOCOL
The Mail Box Protocol will use established network conventions,
specifically the Network Control Program, Initial Connection Protocol,
Data Transfer Protocol, and File Transfer Protocol (as described in
current Network Protocols, NIC 7104).
The transmission is to be Network ASCII. The standard receiving mail
printer is assumed to have a print line 72 characters wide, and a page
of 66 lines. The new line convention will be carriage return (Hex
per the Telnet Protocol, RFC 158, NIC 6768. The standard printer will
accept form feed character (Hex '0C') (Octal '014') as meaning move
paper to the top of a new page.
It is the sender's responsibility to control the length of the print
line and page. If more than 72 characters per line are sent, or if
more than 66 line are sent without a form feed, then the receiving
site can handle these situations as appropriate for them. These
conventions can be changed by control codes as described below. At
the head of the message or document sent there is to be two copies of
an initial address string each terminated by a form feed. This
address string is to contain the sender's name and address, and the
receiver's name and address formatted in some reasonable, easy-to read
form for a clerk to read and distribute. Comments could also be
included in the address string. The requirements for two copies are
to make one readable from a fan fold paper stack without effort.
Initial Connection will be as per the Official Initial Connection
Protocol, Document #2, NIC 7101, to the standard File Transfer socket
The mail item (file) to be transferred would be transferred according
to the File Transfer Protocol.
As per the File Transfer Protocol, a file (mail item) can be sent in
more than one data transaction as defined in the Data Transfer
Protocol. End of file is indicated by the file separator (as defined
in Data Transfer Protocol) or by closing the connection.
Order of Transactions
The only basic operation required is an Append With Create
Append With Create Request
(Mailer) User --------------------> Server (Mail Box)
<File - data>
End of File indication
The data type default is network ASCII. The Standard line printer
default is as defined above. Other control transactions can be used.
CONTROL TRANSACTIONS TO BE USED
09 011 Error or unsuccessful terminate
0A 012 Acknowledge or successful terminate
05 005 Append With Create request (add to
existing file or create file if
5A 132 Change printer control settings
All error codes defined in the file Transfer Protocol could be
PRINTER CONTROL CODES
D1 321 Meaning: Set line width to 72 characters
D2 322 Meaning: Use the full width of your printer
03 323 Meaning: Set page size to 66 line
04 324 Meaning: Set page size to infinite
Other virtual printer control codes can be added in the future.
Other classes of control codes can be added as the need arises.
[ This RFC was put into machine readable form for entry ]
[ into the online RFC archives by BBN Corp. under the ]
[ direction of Alex McKenzie. 12/96 ]