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Concluded WG Internet Message Access Protocol (imap)

Note: The data for concluded WGs is occasionally incorrect.

WG Name Internet Message Access Protocol
Acronym imap
Area Applications Area (app)
State Concluded
Charter charter-ietf-imap-01 Approved
Document dependencies
Personnel Chair Dr. Terry E. Gray Ph.D.
Mailing list Address
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Final Charter for Working Group

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.

Done milestones

Date Milestone Associated documents
Done Submit the IMAP protocol to the IESG for consideration as a Proposed Standard.
Done Hold a working group meeting at the November IETF meeting.
Done Hold a working group meeting to review the IMAP document.
Done Hold an interim working meeting at UW or CMU.
Done Post an Internet-Draft of the revised IMAP 2 protocol.