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Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 05 06                           Standards Track
Network Working Group                                       T. Showalter
Internet Draft: Sieve: Vacation Extension
Document: draft-showalter-sieve-vacation-06.txt          26 October 2004
Expires April 25, 2004

                       Sieve: Vacation Extension

Intellectual Property Rights Statement

     By submitting this Internet-Draft, I certify that any applicable
     patent or other IPR claims of which I am aware have been disclosed,
     or will be disclosed, and any of which I become aware will be
     disclosed, in accordance with RFC 3668.

Status of this memo

     "Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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     Copyright (C) The Internet Society 2004.  All Rights Reserved.


     This document describes an extension to the Sieve mail filtering
     language for an autoresponder similar to that of the Unix
     "vacation" command for replying to messages with certain safety
     features to prevent problems.

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1. Introduction

     This is an extension to the Sieve language defined by [SIEVE] for
     notification that messages will not be immediately answered.

     Conventions for notations are as in [SIEVE] section 1.1.

     The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "CAN",
     and "MAY" in this document are to be interpreted as defined in

2. Capability Identifier

     Sieve implementations that implement vacation have an identifier of
     "vacation" for use with the capability mechanism.

3. Vacation Action

     Syntax:   vacation [":days" number] [":addresses" string-list]
               [":subject" string] [":mime"] <reason: string>

     The "vacation" action implements a vacation autoresponder similar
     to the vacation command  available under many versions of Unix.
     Its purpose is to provide correspondents with notification that the
     user is away for an extended period of time and that they should
     not expect quick responses.

     "Vacation" is used to respond to a message with another message.
     Vacation's messages are always addressed to the Return-Path address
     (that is, the envelope from address) of the message being responded

3.1. Days Parameter

     The ":days" argument is used to specify the period in which
     addresses are kept and are not responded to, and is always
     specified in days.  The minimum value used for this parameter is
     normally 1.  Sites MAY define a different minimum value.  Sites MAY
     also define a maximum days value, which MUST be greater than 7, and
     SHOULD be greater than 30.

     If ":days" is omitted, the default value is either 7 or the minimum
     value (as defined above), whichever is greater.

     If the parameter given to ":days" is less than the minimum value,
     then the minimum value is used instead.

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     If ":days" exceeds the site-defined maximum, the site-defined
     maximum is used instead.

3.2. Previous Response Tracking

     "Vacation" keeps track of all of the responses it has sent to each
     address in some period (as specified by the :days optional
     argument).  If vacation has not previously sent the response to
     this address within that time period, it sends the "reason"
     argument to the SMTP MAIL FROM address of the message that is being
     responded to.  (The SMTP MAIL FROM address should be available in
     the Return-path: header field if sieve processing occurs after
     final delivery.)

     Vacation responses are not just per address, but are per address
     per set of arguments to the vacation command.  For instance, If
     coyote@desert.example.org sends mail to
     roadrunner@acme.example.com, once with the subject "Cyrus bug" and
     once with the subject "come over for dinner", and
     roadrunner@acme.example.com has the script below,
     coyote@desert.example.org would receive two responses, once with
     the first message, once with the second.

     Example:  require "vacation";
               if subject :contains "cyrus" {
                         vacation "I'm out -- send mail to cyrus-bugs";
               } else {
                         vacation "I'm out -- call me at 304 555 1212";

     In the above example, coyote@desert.example.org gets the second
     message despite having gotten the first one because separate vaca-
     tion responses have been triggered.  This behavior is REQUIRED.

     The "per set of arguments" described above is intended to ensure
     that a respondee gets all of the various possible responses, not
     merely the first one.  So, if the :subject or :mime parameters
     would result in a different message, a different message MUST be
     sent by the implementation.

     If a script is changed, implementations MAY reset the records of
     who has been responded to and when they have been responded to.
     Alternatively, implementations can store records of who has
     received which message, perhaps by storing a hash of the message
     and the recipient.

     Implementations are free to limit the number of remembered
     responses, provided the limit is no less than 1000.

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     Implementations SHOULD make the limit no less than 1000 per vaca-
     tion command if using the hash algorithm described above.  When
     limiting the number of tracked responses, implementations SHOULD
     discard the oldest ones first.

3.4. MIME Parameter

     The ":mime" parameter, if supplied, specifies that the reason
     string is, in fact, a MIME part, including MIME headers (see
     section of [SIEVE]).

     If the optional :mime parameter is not supplied, the reason string
     is considered to be a UTF-8 string.

3.6. Address Parameter and Limiting Replies to Personal Messages

     "Vacation" MUST NOT respond to a message unless the user's email
     address is in the "To", "Cc", "Bcc", "Resent-To", "Resent-Cc", or
     "Resent-Bcc" line of the original message.  Implementations are
     assumed to know the user's email address, but users may have
     additional addresses beyond the control of the local mail system.

     Users can supply additional mail addresses that are theirs with the
     ":addresses" argument, which takes a string-list listing additional
     addresses that a user might have.  These addresses are considered
     in addition to the addresses that the implementation knows.

3.7. Restricting Replies to Automated Processes and Mailing Lists

     Implementations MUST have a list of addresses that "vacation" MUST
     NOT send mail to.  However, the contents of this list are
     implementation defined.  The purpose of this list is to stop mail
     from going to addresses used by system daemons that would not care
     if the user is actually reading her mail.

     Implementations are encouraged, however, to include well-known
     addresses like "MAILER-DAEMON", "LISTSERV", "majordomo", and other
     addresses typically used only by automated systems.  Additionally,
     addresses ending in "-request" or beginning in "owner-", i.e.,
     reserved for mailing list software, are also suggested.

     Implementors may take guidance from [MAILBOXNAMES], but should be
     careful.  Some addresses, like "POSTMASTER", are generally actually
     managed by people, and people do care if the user is going to be

     Implementations SHOULD NOT not to respond to any message with a
     header that begins with "List-".

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     Implementations SHOULD NOT respond to any message that has an
     "Auto-submitted" header field with a value other than "no".  This
     header field is described in [AUTO].

3.8. Interaction with Other Sieve Actions

     Vacation does not affect the implicit keep.

     Vacation can only be executed once per script.  If vacation is used
     with another vacation, the script fails.

     Implementations MUST NOT consider vacation used with discard, keep,
     fileinto, or redirect an error.

3.9. Examples

     Here is a simple use of vacation.

               require "vacation";
               vacation :days 23 :addresses ["tjs@example.edu",
                  "I'm away until October 19.
                   If it's an emergency, call 911, I guess." ;

     By mingling vacation with other rules, users can do something more

     Example:  require "vacation";
               if header :contains "from" "boss@example.edu" {
                         redirect "pleeb@isp.example.org";
               } else {
                         vacation "Sorry, I'm away, I'll read your
                            message when I get around to it.";

4. Response Message Generation

     This section details the requirements for the generated response

     It is worth noting that the input message and arguments may be in
     UTF-8, and that implementations MUST deal with UTF-8 input,
     although implementations MAY transcode to other character sets as
     regional taste dictates.

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4.1. SMTP MAIL FROM address

     The SMTP MAIL FROM address of the message envelope SHOULD be set to
     <>.  NOTIFY=NEVER SHOULD also be set in the RCPT TO line during the
     SMTP transaction if possible.

4.2. Subject Parameter

     Users can specify the subject of the reply with the ":subject"
     parameter.  If the :subject parameter is not supplied, then the
     subject is generated as follows: The subject is set to the
     characters "Re: " followed by the original subject with all leading
     occurrence of the characters "Re: " stripped off.

4.3. In-Reply-To and References

     Replies MUST have the In-Reply-To field set to the Message-ID of
     the original message, and the References field must be updated with
     the Message-ID of the original message.

     If the original message lacks a Message-ID, an In-Reply-To need not
     be generated, and References need not bne changed.

4.4. From

     The From field SHOULD be set to the address of the owner of the
     Sieve script.

4.5. To

     The To field SHOULD be set to the address of the recipient of the

4.7 Auto-submitted

     An Auto-Submitted field with a value of "auto-replied" SHOULD be
     included in the message header of any vacation message sent.

4.7. Message Body

     The body of the message is taken from the reason string in the
     vacation command.

5. Relationship to Recommendations for Automatic Responses to Electronic

     The vacation extension implements a "Personal Responder" in the
     terminology defined in [AUTO]. Care has been taken in this

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     specification to comply with the recommendations [AUTO] makes in
     regards to how personal responders should behave.

6. Security Considerations

     It is critical that implementations correctly implement the
     limitations described above.  Replies MUST NOT be sent out in
     response to messages not sent directly to the user, and replies
     MUST NOT be sent out more often than the :days argument states.

     Security issues associated with mail auto-responders are fully
     discussed in the security consideration section of [AUTO].

7. IANA Considerations

     The following template specifies the IANA registration of the
     vacation Sieve extension specified in this document:

     To: iana@iana.org
     Subject: Registration of new Sieve extension

     Capability name: vacation
     Capability keyword: vacation
     Capability arguments: N/A
     Standards Track/IESG-approved experimental RFC number: this RFC
     Person and email address to contact for further information:
         Tim Showalter
         E-Mail: tjs@psaux.com

     This information should be added to the list of sieve extensions
     given on http://www.iana.org/assignments/sieve-extensions.

8. Acknowledgements

     This extension is obviously inspired by Eric Allman's vacation
     program under Unix.  The author owes a great deal to Carnegie
     Mellon University, Cyrus Daboo, Ned Freed, Lawrence Greenfield, and
     many others whose names have been lost during the inexcusably long
     gestation period of this document.

9. Author's Address

     Tim Showalter

     E-Mail: tjs@psaux.com

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Appendix A. References

Appendix A.1. Normative References"

     [AUTO] Moore, K., "Recommendations for Automatic Responses to
     Electronic Mail", Internet-Draft, draft-moore-auto-email-

     [KEYWORDS] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
     Requirement Levels", RFC 2119, Harvard University, March 1997.

     [MIME] Freed, N., and N. Borenstein, "Multipurpose Internet Mail
     Extensions (MIME) Part One: Format of Internet Message Bodies", RFC
     2045, Innosoft and First Virtual, November 1996.

     [SIEVE] Showalter, T.,  "Sieve: A Mail Filtering Language",
     Mirapoint, Inc., RFC 3028, January, 2001.

Appendix A.2. Informative References

     [MAILBOXNAMES] Crocker, D. "Mailbox Names for Common Services,
     Roles, and Functions", RFC 2142, Internet Mail Consortium, May,

Appendix B. Intellectual Property Rights Statement

     The IETF takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any
     intellectual property or other rights that might be claimed to
     pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in
     this document or the extent to which any license under such rights
     might or might not be available; neither does it represent that it
     has made any effort to identify any such rights.  Information on
     the IETF's procedures with respect to rights in standards-track and
     standards-related documentation can be found in BCP-11.  Copies of
     claims of rights made available for publication and any assurances
     of licenses to be made available, or the result of an attempt made
     to obtain a general license or permission for the use of such
     proprietary rights by implementors or users of this specification
     can be obtained from the IETF Secretariat.

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Appendix C. 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.

     This document and the information contained herein are provided on

     (See RFC 3667 sections 5.4 and 5.5.)

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