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Network Working Group James E. White (JEW) Request for Comments: 479 SRI-ARC NIC: 14948 March 8, 1973

                   Use of FTP by the NIC Journal
 At the Network Mail Meeting (see -- 14317,) the NIC outlined it's
 requirements for implementing FTP Journal delivery and submission.
 It had always been our thinking that those two services should rely
 upon the File Transfer Protocol's MLFL command for their
 Prior to the meeting, we had envisioned that, in the case of
 submission, for example, the user would embed what parameters the NIC
 required (e.g., an indication that this piece of mail was to be
 journalized, a list of NIC idents, etc.) in the USERNAME field of the
 MLFL command, in a way that was transparent to his FTP user process,
 and that SRI-ARC's FTP server process would parse the 'user name' for
 the parameters and internally invoke the Journal System with them and
 the text of the mail as arguments.
    Our goal (which this scheme would have satisfied) was to provide
    the desired services while confining software changes to our own
    system and, in particular, to avoid requiring that user FTP
    processes or the File Transfer Protocol itself be modified.
 It was, however, the consensus of those present at the meeting that
 it was preferable to modify FTP in such a way that all required
 parameters could be explicitly declared, rather than require that
 they be hidden within what purported to be simply a user name.
 The intent of this RFC is to list what we (the NIC) believe were the
 new FTP commands it was agreed should be defined in support of mail
 submission and delivery. Actually, we've done some massaging after
 thinking about the issues for awhile, and so this is really a
 description of what we'd like to see included in the File Transfer
 Protocol (following the lines of thought which developed at the
 meeting), along with a short description of how the NIC would use
 Some of the commands currently make sense only if issued TO the NIC's
 FTP server process (as opposed to anybody else's) and others only if
 issued BY the NIC's FTP user process (as opposed to anybody else's).
 This is true because currently only the NIC plans to offer mail

White [Page 1] RFC 479 Use of FTP by the NIC Journal March 1973

 forwarding and recording (i.e., the Journal System) as a service.
 However, other hosts may in the future desire to implement a similar
 service, at which time these special commands will have wider use.
 Conceptually, all of these commands are sub-commands of a new MAIL
 command, but the intent for the moment is not to define their
 position within the FTP dialogue nor their syntax, but simply to
 describe them conceptually.  Details of syntax and use are left to
 the FTP Interest Group which meets 16-MAR-73 in Boston (see --
 The new sub-commands are described below.  Bracketed fields are
 optional; slash denotes a choice of two or more alternatives.
    (1)  TITLE title
       Where 'title' is a character string describing for the human
       reader the contents of the mail.
    (2)  USER-READABLE-AUTHOR author
       Where 'author' identifies the author of the mail to the human
       reader.  This may be a nickname, or any other identifier with
       which the human sender chooses to sign his mail.
    (3)  PROCESS-READABLE-AUTHOR last, first initial (ident)
       Where the author's name (and ident if known) is made available
       to the server in a form it can hope to parse (if need be).
       This sub-command is important to the NIC, providing a basis for
       locating the author in the NIC's Ident files.
    (4)  FOR-ACKNOWLEDGMENT-AUTHOR username hostname
       Where 'username' and 'hostname' define the sender in a way
       useful in acknowledging delivery (of forwarded mail).
          The acknowledgment will itself be a piece of mail sent from
          the NIC to 'username' at 'hostname'.
       It's important, conceptually, to note the NIC's unique role
       here.  Normally, acceptance of the mail by the server would
       constitute acknowledgment of delivery.  But, in the case of
       Journal submission, the NIC acts only as a forwarding agent,
       and hence delivery of mail by the sender to SRI-ARC isn't

White [Page 2] RFC 479 Use of FTP by the NIC Journal March 1973

       really delivery at all -- only submission.  Final delivery
       occurs when the NIC transmits a copy of the mail to each of its
       addressees; hence the need for this special kind of
       Note that this sub-command and the previous two constitute
       different renderings of the sender's name.
                      GIVEUP time
                      TERSE / VERBOSE)
       The value of the first parameter (ignoring 'DEFAULT' for the
       moment) determines the conditions under which acknowledgment
       will be made to the sender:
  1. - upon completion, whether delivery was successful or timed

out for one or more addressees,

  1. - only if delivery failed for one or more addressees, or
  1. - periodically until delivery is complete.
       The value of the second parameter determines the time after
       which delivery attempts will be discontinued.
       The value of the third parameter determines how detailed -- in
       some as yet unspecified sense -- an acknowledgment will be
          A verbose acknowledgment might, in the case of delivery
          failure, include a copy of the text of the message, or, for
          mail sent by citation (see item 10 below), a pointer to it.
       If DEFAULT is specified (in which case, FOR-ACKNOWLEDGMENT-
       AUTHOR should not be specified, and 'DEFAULT' applies to it,
       too), the NIC will extract a set of default values from its
       Ident files, provided that a PROCESS-READABLE-AUTHOR subcommand
       is present and the sender's NIC Ident can be inferred from it;
       otherwise, the NIC will apply a set of (as yet unspecified)
       system defaults.
          The NIC's Ident files will be modified to contain, for each
          user known to it, the kind of acknowledgment the user
          usually wants (i.e., his default) and the username and
          hostname that define the destination for such
          acknowledgments.  These last two pieces of information will

White [Page 3] RFC 479 Use of FTP by the NIC Journal March 1973

          also be used in delivering mail to the user if he has
          requested Network delivery (as opposed to Online (at the
          NIC) or hardcopy).
    (6)  ADDRESSEES-ARE name1, name2, ...
       This sub-command identifies the recipient(s) of the mail.  In
       general, 'namei' will be the name by which the recipient is
       known locally in the server's system.
       The NIC's server FTP process will permit 'namei' to be any of
       the following:
  1. - a NIC Ident (designating either an individual or a


  1. - username hostname, where 'username' is the name by which

the addressee is known at host 'hostname', or

  1. - lastname, firstname initial , which the NIC will attempt

to parse and then locate in its Ident files.

       Note that now the possibility of multiple addressees is
       explicitly admitted by the Protocol, but the meaning of 'useri'
       (to the server) is left server-dependent.
    (7)  MAIL-CLASS
       The first parameter makes a statement about the size of the
       mail, and the server may choose to use it to decide how and
       where to store he mail for the addressee.
       The second parameter makes a statement about the importance of
       the mail, and the server may choose to expedite delivery (e.g.,
       interrupt the user if he's logged in) for SPECIAL-DELIVERY
    (8)  RECORD [identifier] [miscellaneous]
       This is the command to the server to record the mail.
       'Identifier' allows the sender the option of specifying a pre-
       assigned identifier if he has one; if this field is not
       present, the server assigns one.
       'Miscellaneous' includes any server-dependent parameters which
       the server may require or allow.

White [Page 4] RFC 479 Use of FTP by the NIC Journal March 1973

       When this command is issued to the NIC, it will be taken as a
       command to Journalize the mail, and 'identifier' may be:
          NIC number [RFC number]
       The NIC may allow 'miscellaneous' to contain such information
       as comments, keywords, etc.
    (9)  PRESERVED-AT hostname AS identifier
       This is not a command but a statement of fact which the FTP
       server will presumably relay to the user as it does the
       information contained in (for example) the TITLE command.
       The implication is that a copy of this piece of mail has been
       preserved at 'hostname' and is retrievable -- on a long-term
       basis -- with 'identifier'.  'Identifier' might, in general, be
       a pathname.
       When the NIC delivers Journal articles through the Net, it will
       include this sub-command, and 'identifier' will be a NIC
       number, and 'hostname' of course 'SRI-ARC' or 'NIC'.
    (10) TEXT text
         FILE pathname hostname
       One of these two sub-commands is used to actually transmit the
       mail:  the first transmits the text of the mail, the second a
       pointer to it (leaving open to the FTP server (or his user) the
       option of retrieving the text of the mail from the specified
       The NIC will transmit mail created within NLS with 'Submit
       File' using the FILE command, and mail created with 'Submit
       Message' using the TEXT command.   For mail entering the SRI-
       ARC system via its FTP server process, the NIC will employ the
       same command in delivery as was used in submission.
     [ This RFC was put into machine readable form for entry ]
    [ into the online RFC archives by Hannes Faestermann 12/97 ]

White [Page 5]

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