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Versions: 00 01 02 rfc4146                                              
Internet Draft: Notify Mail                                  R. Gellens
Document: draft-gellens-notify-mail-01.txt                     QUALCOMM
Expires: June 2005                                        December 2004




                      Simple New Mail Notification


Status of this Memo

    By submitting this Internet-Draft, each author represents that any
    applicable patent or other IPR claims of which he or she is aware
    have been or will be disclosed, and any of which he or she becomes
    aware will be disclosed, in accordance with Section 6 of RFC 3668.

    By submitting this Internet-Draft, I accept the provisions of
    Section 3 of RFC 3667 (BCP 78).

    Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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    Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six
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    The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at
    http://www.ietf.org/ietf/1id-abstracts.txt The list of
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Copyright Notice

    Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).  All Rights Reserved.


Abstract

    This memo documents a long-standing technique, supported by a large
    number of mail servers, which allows users to be notified of new
    mail.  In addition to server support, there are a number of clients
    which support this, ranging from full email clients to specialized
    clients whose only purpose is to receive new mail notifications and


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    alert a mail client.

    In brief, the technique is for the server to send the string
    "nm_notifyuser" to the finger port on the IP address (either
    configured or last used) for the user who has received new mail.














































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                           Table of Contents

    1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
    2.  Conventions Used in this Document  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
    3.  Simple Mail Notification  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
    4.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
    5.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
    6.  Acknowledgments  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
    7.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
    8.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
    9.  Author's Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
      Intellectual Property Statement  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
      Full Copyright Statement  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
      Disclaimer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5


1.  Introduction

    There is a long-standing technique supported by a large number of
    mail servers which allows users to be notified of new mail.  In
    addition to server support, there are a number of clients which
    support this, ranging from full email clients to specialized clients
    whose only purpose is to receive new mail notifications and alert a
    mail client.  This technique is sometimes known as "notify mail"
    (after a shareware client of the same name), sometimes called
    "biff", and sometimes the "finger hack".


2.  Conventions Used in this Document

    In examples, "C:" is used to indicate lines sent by the client, and
    "S:" indicates those sent by the server.  Line breaks within a
    command example are for editorial purposes only.

    Examples use the 'example.net' domain.

    The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", and "MAY"
    in this document are to be interpreted as defined in [KEYWORDS].


3.  Simple Mail Notification

    The technique is for the server to send the string "nm_notifyuser"
    to the finger port on the IP address for the user who has received
    new mail.






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    The IP address to use may be configured, or the server may use the
    IP address that was last used to check mail by the user.  Typically
    this is a per-account configuration option.

    To be useful, on the client system a process must be listening to
    the finger port.  When it received the "nm_notifyuser" string, it
    takes a configured action, typically instructing a mail client to
    fetch mail.

    Normally, a TCP connection to the target computer is opened, the
    "nm_notifyuser" string is sent, and the connection is closed without
    waiting for any response.

    In some cases UDP is used instead of TCP.


4.  Security Considerations

    There is of course no assurance that in general the "nm_notifyuser"
    message is being sent to the correct IP address.  Nor does the
    listening agent on the client system have any assurance that a
    "nm_notifyuser" string was sent by a mail server which has received
    new mail for the user.  It would be trivial for an attacker to send
    large numbers of "nm_notifyuser" messages to any targeted system.
    Client systems listening for this message SHOULD implement
    protections against being flooded with notifications.  Many server
    systems already implement protections against users logging in and
    checking mail too frequently.


5.  IANA Considerations

    None at this time.


6.  Acknowledgments

    The NotifyMail shareware utility was written by Scott Gruby.


7.  Normative References

    [KEYWORDS] S. Bradner, "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
    Requirement Levels", March 1997, BCP 14, RFC 2119,
    <ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc2119.txt>






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8.  Informative References

    None.


9.  Author's Addresses

    Randall Gellens
    QUALCOMM Incorporated
    6455 Lusk Blvd.
    San Diego, CA  92121-2779
    USA
    randy@qualcomm.Com


Intellectual Property Statement

    The IETF takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any
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    Information on the procedures with respect to rights in RFC
    documents can be found in BCP 78 and BCP 79.

    Copies of IPR disclosures made to the IETF Secretariat and any
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    The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its attention any
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Full Copyright Statement

    Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).  This document is subject
    to the rights, licenses and restrictions contained in BCP 78, and
    except as set forth therein, the authors retain all their rights.






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Disclaimer

    This document and the information contained herein are provided on
    an "AS IS" basis and THE CONTRIBUTOR, THE ORGANIZATION HE/SHE
    REPRESENTS OR IS SPONSORED BY (IF ANY), THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE
    INTERNET ENGINEERING TASK FORCE DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR
    IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF
    THE INFORMATION HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED
    WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.










































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