Internet Mail Architecture
RFC 5598

 
Document Type RFC - Informational (July 2009; Errata)
Was draft-crocker-email-arch (individual in app area)
Last updated 2013-03-02
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IESG IESG state RFC 5598 (Informational)
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Responsible AD Alexey Melnikov
Send notices to dcrocker@bbiw.net, tony@att.com, chris.newman@sun.com
Network Working Group                                         D. Crocker
Request for Comments: 5598                   Brandenburg InternetWorking
Category: Informational                                        July 2009

                       Internet Mail Architecture

Abstract

   Over its thirty-five-year history, Internet Mail has changed
   significantly in scale and complexity, as it has become a global
   infrastructure service.  These changes have been evolutionary, rather
   than revolutionary, reflecting a strong desire to preserve both its
   installed base and its usefulness.  To collaborate productively on
   this large and complex system, all participants need to work from a
   common view of it and use a common language to describe its
   components and the interactions among them.  But the many differences
   in perspective currently make it difficult to know exactly what
   another participant means.  To serve as the necessary common frame of
   reference, this document describes the enhanced Internet Mail
   architecture, reflecting the current service.

Status of This Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2009 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

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   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights
   and restrictions with respect to this document.

   This document may contain material from IETF Documents or IETF
   Contributions published or made publicly available before November
   10, 2008.  The person(s) controlling the copyright in some of this
   material may not have granted the IETF Trust the right to allow
   modifications of such material outside the IETF Standards Process.
   Without obtaining an adequate license from the person(s) controlling
   the copyright in such materials, this document may not be modified
   outside the IETF Standards Process, and derivative works of it may

Crocker                      Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 5598                   Email Architecture                  July 2009

   not be created outside the IETF Standards Process, except to format
   it for publication as an RFC or to translate it into languages other
   than English.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
     1.1.  History  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     1.2.  The Role of This Architecture  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     1.3.  Document Conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
   2.  Responsible Actor Roles  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
     2.1.  User Actors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
     2.2.  Message Handling Service (MHS) Actors  . . . . . . . . . . 11
     2.3.  Administrative Actors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   3.  Identities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
     3.1.  Mailbox  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
     3.2.  Scope of Email Address Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
     3.3.  Domain Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
     3.4.  Message Identifier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
   4.  Services and Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
     4.1.  Message Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
       4.1.4.  Identity References in a Message . . . . . . . . . . . 25
     4.2.  User-Level Services  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
     4.3.  MHS-Level Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
     4.4.  Transition Modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
     4.5.  Implementation and Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
   5.  Mediators  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
     5.1.  Alias  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
     5.2.  ReSender . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
     5.3.  Mailing Lists  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
     5.4.  Gateways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
     5.5.  Boundary Filter  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
   6.  Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
     6.1.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
     6.2.  Internationalization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
   7.  References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
     7.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
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