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Internet Message Access Protocol

Document Charter Internet Message Access Protocol WG (imap)
Title Internet Message Access Protocol
Last updated 1995-05-05
State Approved
WG State Concluded
IESG Responsible AD (None)
Charter edit AD (None)
Send notices to (None)

The Interactive Mail Access Protocol (IMAP) Working Group
   is chartered to refine and extend the current IMAP2 protocol as a
   candidate standard for a client-server Internet e-mail protocol to
   manipulate remote mailboxes as if they were local.  An explicit
   objective is to retain compatibility with the growing installed base
   of IMAP2-compliant software.  It is expected that the resulting
   specification will replace both RFC 1176 and the more recent (as yet
   unplublished) IMAP2bis extensions document.

   The IMAP Working Group will also investigate how to provide for
   ``disconnected operation'' capabilities similar to the DMSP protocol
   (RFC 1056, with Informational status) with a goal of making it
   possible for IMAP to replace DMSP.

   An e-mail access protocol provides a uniform, operating 
   system-independent way of manipulating message data (e-mail or
   bulletin board) on a remote message store (repository).  Mail user
   agents implementing such a protocol can provide individuals with a
   consistent view of the message store, regardless of what type of
   computer they are using, and regardless of where they are connected
   in the network.  Multiple concurrent sessions accessing a single
   remote mailbox, and single sessions accessing multiple remote
   mailboxes, are both possible with this approach.

   This differs from POP3 (RFC 1225) in that POP is a store-and-forward
   transport protocol that allows an MUA to retrieve pending mail from
   a mail drop (where it is then usually deleted automatically),
   whereas IMAP is focused on remote mailbox manipulation rather than
   transport. IMAP differs from various vendor-specific remote access
   approaches in that IMAP is an open protocol designed to scale well
   and accommodate diverse types of client operating systems.

   Security-related tasks include how to incorporate secure
   authentication mechanisms when establishing a session, and possible
   interactions with Privacy Enhanced Mail.

   It is expected that most of the work of this group will be conducted
   via e-mail.  A goal is to integrate and update RFC 1176 and the
   existing IMAP2bis draft, then submit the result as an Internet-Draft
   well before the November 1993 IETF meeting, which would then focus on
   detailed review of the text in preparation for submission as a
   Proposed Standard before the end of 1993.