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E-Mail and MIME Standards

On This Page: Transport | MIME | PEM | Unicode & MIME | IMAP | POP | General

Internet Mail Transport Protocol

RFC 821
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol -- SMTP (Standard)
Defines the Internet Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, which is the core mail transfer protocol on the Internet. SMTP is independent of the particular transmission subsystem and requires only a reliable ordered data stream channel.

RFC 822
Standard for the Format of Internet E-mail (Standard)
Defines the protocol for the interchange of Internet electronic mail messages. Useful reference, as the construction of HTTP header fields is based on the approach first developed for email. Some important updates are found in RFC 1123 and RFC 1327.

RFC 1123
Requirements for Internet Hosts -- Application and Support (Specification)
This contains information that updates the email transport protocol as specified in RFC 821/822, in particular to account for name lookup via the Doman Name System.

RFC 1664
Using the Internet DNS to Distribute RFC1327 Mail Address Mapping Tables (Specification)
This memo defines how to store in the Internet Domain Name System the mapping information needed by e-mail gateways and other tools to map RFC822 domain names into X.400 O/R names and vice versa.

RFC 1327
Mapping between X.400(1988) / ISO 10021 and RFC 822 (Specification)
This document describes a set of mappings which will enable interworking between systems operating the CCITT X.400 1988) Recommendations on Message Handling Systems / ISO IEC 10021 Message Oriented Text Interchange Systems (MOTIS) [CCITT/ISO88a], and systems using the RFC 822 mail protocol

RFC 1869
SMTP Service Extensions (Standards Track)
This memo defines a framework for extending the SMTP service by defining a means whereby a server SMTP can inform a client SMTP as to the service extensions it supports. Extensions to the SMTP service are registered with the IANA. This framework does not require modification of existing SMTP clients or servers unless the features of the service extensions are to be requested or provided.

RFC 1893
Enhanced Mail System Status Codes (Standards Track)
A proposal for an extended collection of SMTP error codes, to allow for more complete error processing of mail delivery problems. This would imply extensions to SMTP as defined in RFC 821.

Multipart Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Specifications

RFC 2045
MIME (1/5) -- Format of Internet Message Bodies (Standard)
Specifies the construction of Multipart Internet Mail Extensions messages. MIME is the mechanisms by which email can send letters containing multiple parts. The MIME mechanism is also used within the HTTP protocol to indicate the media type of transmitted data (Replaces/updates RFC 1521/1522).

RFC 2046
MIME (2/5) -- Media Types (Standard)
Defines the general structure of the MIME media typing system (Replaces/updates RFC 1521/1522).

RFC 2047
MIME (3/5) -- Message Header Extensions for Non-ASCII Text (Standard)
Defines headers and encodings to use when sending non-ASCII text within a MIME object (Replaces/updates RFC 1521/1522).

RFC 2048
MIME (4/5) -- MIME Registration Procedures (Informational)
Spefifies the various IANA registration procedures for the different MIME facilities. (Replaces/updates RFC 1590) A list of all IANA-registered Media types is found at ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/iana/assignments/media-types/ .

RFC 2049
MIME (5/5) -- Conformance Criteria and Examples (Standard)
describes MIME conformance criteria, and also provides some illustrative examples of MIME message formats. (Replaces/updates RFC 1521/1522/1590).
RFC 1844
Multimedia E-mail (MIME) User Agent checklist (Informational)
This document presents a checklist to facilitate evaluation of MIME capable User Agents. Access to a MIME test-responder, that generates test-messages is described.

Privacy Enhanced Mail (PEM)

RFC 1424
Privacy Enhancement for Internet Electronic Mail: Part IV: Key Certification and Related Services (Standard)
This document describes three types of service in support of Internet Privacy-Enhanced Mail (PEM) [RFC 1421-1424]: key certification, certificate- revocation list (CRL) storage, and CRL retrieval. Such services are among those required of an RFC 1422 certification authority.

RFC 1423
Privacy Enhancement for Internet Electronic Mail (PEM): Part III: Algorithms, Modes, and Identifiers (Standard)
This document provides definitions, formats, references, and citations for cryptographic algorithms, usage modes, and associated identifiers and parameters used in support of Privacy Enhanced Mail (PEM) in the Internet community.

RFC 1422
Privacy Enhancement for Internet Electronic Mail (PEM): Part II: Certificate-Based Key Management (Standard)
This document defines a supporting key management architecture and infrastructure, based on public-key certificate techniques, to provide keying information to message originators and recipients. RFC 1424 provides additional specifications for services in conjunction with the key management infrastructure described herein.

RFC 1421
Privacy Enhancement for Internet Electronic Mail (PEM): Part I: Message Encryption and Authentication Procedures (Standard)
This document defines message encryption and authentication procedures, in order to provide privacy-enhanced mail (PEM) services for electronic mail transfer in the Internet.

Unicode and MIME

RFC 1641
Using Unicode with MIME (Experimental Protocol)
The Unicode Standard, version 1.1, and ISO/IEC 10646-1:1993(E) jointly define a 16 bit character set (hereafter referred to as Unicode) which encompasses most of the world's writing systems. However, Internet mail (STD 11, RFC 822) supports only 7- bit US ASCII as a character set. MIME extends Internet mail to support different media types and character sets, but neither defines Unicode as a permitted character set nor specifies how it would be encoded. This document specifies the usage of Unicode within MIME.

RFC 1642
A Mail-Safe Transformation Format of Unicode (Experimental Protocol)
This document describes a new transformation format of Unicode that contains only 7-bit ASCII characters and that is intended to be readable by humans in the limiting case that the document consists of characters from the US-ASCII repertoire. It also specifies how this transformation format is used in the context of MIME messages and the document "Using Unicode with MIME" (RFC 1641).

Internet Message Access Protocol -- IMAP

RFC 1733
Distributed Electronic Mail Models in IMAP4 (Informational)
This document describes the different models for using electronic mail,in the context of IMAP4. There are three fundamental models of client/server email: offline, online, and disconnected use. IMAP4 can be used in any one of these three models.

RFC 1732
IMAP4 Compatibility With IMAP2 and IMAP2BIS (Informational)
This is a summary of hints and recommendations to enable an IMAP4 implementation to interoperate with implementations that conform to earlier specifications.

RFC 1731
IMAP4 Authentication Mechanisms (Standard)
The Internet Message Access Protocol, Version 4 [RFC 1730] contains the AUTHENTICATE command, for identifying and authenticating a user to an IMAP4 server and for optionally negotiating a protection mechanism for subsequent protocol interactions. This document describes several authentication mechanisms for use by the IMAP4 AUTHENTICATE command.

RFC 1730
Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) - Version 4 (Standard)
The Internet Message Access Protocol, Version 4 (IMAP4) allows a client to access and manipulate electronic mail messages on a server. IMAP4 permits manipulation of remote message folders, called "mailboxes", in a way that is functionally equivalent to local mailboxes. IMAP4 also provides the capability for an offline client to resynchronize with the server.

Post Office Protocol (POP)

RFC 1734
POP3 AUTHentication command (Standard)
This document describes the optional AUTH command, for indicating an authentication mechanism to the server, performing an authentication protocol exchange, and optionally negotiating a protection mechanism for subsequent protocol interactions. The authentication and protection mechanisms used by the POP3 AUTH command are those used by IMAP4.

RFC 1939
Post Office Protocol - Version 3 -- POP3 (Standard)
Contains the complete specification for POP Version 3.

General Information

RFC 1711
Classifications in E-mail Routing (Informational)
This paper presents a classification for e-mail routing issues. It clearly defines commonly used terminology such as static routing, store-and-forward routing, source routing and others. Real life examples show which routing options are used in existing projects.

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© Ian S. Graham , 1994-1996
Last Updated: 17 December 1996