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4.  THE SMTP SPECIFICATIONS

   4.1.  SMTP COMMANDS

      4.1.1.  COMMAND SEMANTICS

         The SMTP commands define the mail transfer or the mail system
         function requested by the user.  SMTP commands are character
         strings terminated by <CRLF>.  The command codes themselves are
         alphabetic characters terminated by <SP> if parameters follow
         and <CRLF> otherwise.  The syntax of mailboxes must conform to
         receiver site conventions.  The SMTP commands are discussed
         below.  The SMTP replies are discussed in the Section 4.2.

         A mail transaction involves several data objects which are
         communicated as arguments to different commands.  The
         reverse-path is the argument of the MAIL command, the
         forward-path is the argument of the RCPT command, and the mail
         data is the argument of the DATA command.  These arguments or
         data objects must be transmitted and held pending the
         confirmation communicated by the end of mail data indication
         which finalizes the transaction.  The model for this is that
         distinct buffers are provided to hold the types of data
         objects, that is, there is a reverse-path buffer, a
         forward-path buffer, and a mail data buffer.  Specific commands
         cause information to be appended to a specific buffer, or cause
         one or more buffers to be cleared.

         HELLO (HELO)

            This command is used to identify the sender-SMTP to the
            receiver-SMTP.  The argument field contains the host name of
            the sender-SMTP.

            The receiver-SMTP identifies itself to the sender-SMTP in
            the connection greeting reply, and in the response to this
            command.

            This command and an OK reply to it confirm that both the
            sender-SMTP and the receiver-SMTP are in the initial state,
            that is, there is no transaction in progress and all state
            tables and buffers are cleared.


MAIL (MAIL) This command is used to initiate a mail transaction in which the mail data is delivered to one or more mailboxes. The argument field contains a reverse-path. The reverse-path consists of an optional list of hosts and the sender mailbox. When the list of hosts is present, it is a "reverse" source route and indicates that the mail was relayed through each host on the list (the first host in the list was the most recent relay). This list is used as a source route to return non-delivery notices to the sender. As each relay host adds itself to the beginning of the list, it must use its name as known in the IPCE to which it is relaying the mail rather than the IPCE from which the mail came (if they are different). In some types of error reporting messages (for example, undeliverable mail notifications) the reverse-path may be null (see Example 7). This command clears the reverse-path buffer, the forward-path buffer, and the mail data buffer; and inserts the reverse-path information from this command into the reverse-path buffer. RECIPIENT (RCPT) This command is used to identify an individual recipient of the mail data; multiple recipients are specified by multiple use of this command. The forward-path consists of an optional list of hosts and a required destination mailbox. When the list of hosts is present, it is a source route and indicates that the mail must be relayed to the next host on the list. If the receiver-SMTP does not implement the relay function it may user the same reply it would for an unknown local user (550). When mail is relayed, the relay host must remove itself from the beginning forward-path and put itself at the beginning of the reverse-path. When mail reaches its ultimate destination (the forward-path contains only a destination mailbox), the receiver-SMTP inserts it into the destination mailbox in accordance with its host mail conventions.
For example, mail received at relay host A with arguments FROM:<USERX@HOSTY.ARPA> TO:<@HOSTA.ARPA,@HOSTB.ARPA:USERC@HOSTD.ARPA> will be relayed on to host B with arguments FROM:<@HOSTA.ARPA:USERX@HOSTY.ARPA> TO:<@HOSTB.ARPA:USERC@HOSTD.ARPA>. This command causes its forward-path argument to be appended to the forward-path buffer. DATA (DATA) The receiver treats the lines following the command as mail data from the sender. This command causes the mail data from this command to be appended to the mail data buffer. The mail data may contain any of the 128 ASCII character codes. The mail data is terminated by a line containing only a period, that is the character sequence "<CRLF>.<CRLF>" (see Section 4.5.2 on Transparency). This is the end of mail data indication. The end of mail data indication requires that the receiver must now process the stored mail transaction information. This processing consumes the information in the reverse-path buffer, the forward-path buffer, and the mail data buffer, and on the completion of this command these buffers are cleared. If the processing is successful the receiver must send an OK reply. If the processing fails completely the receiver must send a failure reply. When the receiver-SMTP accepts a message either for relaying or for final delivery it inserts at the beginning of the mail data a time stamp line. The time stamp line indicates the identity of the host that sent the message, and the identity of the host that received the message (and is inserting this time stamp), and the date and time the message was received. Relayed messages will have multiple time stamp lines. When the receiver-SMTP makes the "final delivery" of a message it inserts at the beginning of the mail data a
return path line. The return path line preserves the information in the <reverse-path> from the MAIL command. Here, final delivery means the message leaves the SMTP world. Normally, this would mean it has been delivered to the destination user, but in some cases it may be further processed and transmitted by another mail system. It is possible for the mailbox in the return path be different from the actual sender's mailbox, for example, if error responses are to be delivered a special error handling mailbox rather than the message senders. The preceding two paragraphs imply that the final mail data will begin with a return path line, followed by one or more time stamp lines. These lines will be followed by the mail data header and body [2]. See Example 8. Special mention is needed of the response and further action required when the processing following the end of mail data indication is partially successful. This could arise if after accepting several recipients and the mail data, the receiver-SMTP finds that the mail data can be successfully delivered to some of the recipients, but it cannot be to others (for example, due to mailbox space allocation problems). In such a situation, the response to the DATA command must be an OK reply. But, the receiver-SMTP must compose and send an "undeliverable mail" notification message to the originator of the message. Either a single notification which lists all of the recipients that failed to get the message, or separate notification messages must be sent for each failed recipient (see Example 7). All undeliverable mail notification messages are sent using the MAIL command (even if they result from processing a SEND, SOML, or SAML command).
------------------------------------------------------------- Example of Return Path and Received Time Stamps Return-Path: <@GHI.ARPA,@DEF.ARPA,@ABC.ARPA:JOE@ABC.ARPA> Received: from GHI.ARPA by JKL.ARPA ; 27 Oct 81 15:27:39 PST Received: from DEF.ARPA by GHI.ARPA ; 27 Oct 81 15:15:13 PST Received: from ABC.ARPA by DEF.ARPA ; 27 Oct 81 15:01:59 PST Date: 27 Oct 81 15:01:01 PST From: JOE@ABC.ARPA Subject: Improved Mailing System Installed To: SAM@JKL.ARPA This is to inform you that ... Example 8 ------------------------------------------------------------- SEND (SEND) This command is used to initiate a mail transaction in which the mail data is delivered to one or more terminals. The argument field contains a reverse-path. This command is successful if the message is delivered to a terminal. The reverse-path consists of an optional list of hosts and the sender mailbox. When the list of hosts is present, it is a "reverse" source route and indicates that the mail was relayed through each host on the list (the first host in the list was the most recent relay). This list is used as a source route to return non-delivery notices to the sender. As each relay host adds itself to the beginning of the list, it must use its name as known in the IPCE to which it is relaying the mail rather than the IPCE from which the mail came (if they are different). This command clears the reverse-path buffer, the forward-path buffer, and the mail data buffer; and inserts the reverse-path information from this command into the reverse-path buffer. SEND OR MAIL (SOML) This command is used to initiate a mail transaction in which the mail data is delivered to one or more terminals or
mailboxes. For each recipient the mail data is delivered to the recipient's terminal if the recipient is active on the host (and accepting terminal messages), otherwise to the recipient's mailbox. The argument field contains a reverse-path. This command is successful if the message is delivered to a terminal or the mailbox. The reverse-path consists of an optional list of hosts and the sender mailbox. When the list of hosts is present, it is a "reverse" source route and indicates that the mail was relayed through each host on the list (the first host in the list was the most recent relay). This list is used as a source route to return non-delivery notices to the sender. As each relay host adds itself to the beginning of the list, it must use its name as known in the IPCE to which it is relaying the mail rather than the IPCE from which the mail came (if they are different). This command clears the reverse-path buffer, the forward-path buffer, and the mail data buffer; and inserts the reverse-path information from this command into the reverse-path buffer. SEND AND MAIL (SAML) This command is used to initiate a mail transaction in which the mail data is delivered to one or more terminals and mailboxes. For each recipient the mail data is delivered to the recipient's terminal if the recipient is active on the host (and accepting terminal messages), and for all recipients to the recipient's mailbox. The argument field contains a reverse-path. This command is successful if the message is delivered to the mailbox. The reverse-path consists of an optional list of hosts and the sender mailbox. When the list of hosts is present, it is a "reverse" source route and indicates that the mail was relayed through each host on the list (the first host in the list was the most recent relay). This list is used as a source route to return non-delivery notices to the sender. As each relay host adds itself to the beginning of the list, it must use its name as known in the IPCE to which it is relaying the mail rather than the IPCE from which the mail came (if they are different). This command clears the reverse-path buffer, the
forward-path buffer, and the mail data buffer; and inserts the reverse-path information from this command into the reverse-path buffer. RESET (RSET) This command specifies that the current mail transaction is to be aborted. Any stored sender, recipients, and mail data must be discarded, and all buffers and state tables cleared. The receiver must send an OK reply. VERIFY (VRFY) This command asks the receiver to confirm that the argument identifies a user. If it is a user name, the full name of the user (if known) and the fully specified mailbox are returned. This command has no effect on any of the reverse-path buffer, the forward-path buffer, or the mail data buffer. EXPAND (EXPN) This command asks the receiver to confirm that the argument identifies a mailing list, and if so, to return the membership of that list. The full name of the users (if known) and the fully specified mailboxes are returned in a multiline reply. This command has no effect on any of the reverse-path buffer, the forward-path buffer, or the mail data buffer. HELP (HELP) This command causes the receiver to send helpful information to the sender of the HELP command. The command may take an argument (e.g., any command name) and return more specific information as a response. This command has no effect on any of the reverse-path buffer, the forward-path buffer, or the mail data buffer.
NOOP (NOOP) This command does not affect any parameters or previously entered commands. It specifies no action other than that the receiver send an OK reply. This command has no effect on any of the reverse-path buffer, the forward-path buffer, or the mail data buffer. QUIT (QUIT) This command specifies that the receiver must send an OK reply, and then close the transmission channel. The receiver should not close the transmission channel until it receives and replies to a QUIT command (even if there was an error). The sender should not close the transmission channel until it send a QUIT command and receives the reply (even if there was an error response to a previous command). If the connection is closed prematurely the receiver should act as if a RSET command had been received (canceling any pending transaction, but not undoing any previously completed transaction), the sender should act as if the command or transaction in progress had received a temporary error (4xx). TURN (TURN) This command specifies that the receiver must either (1) send an OK reply and then take on the role of the sender-SMTP, or (2) send a refusal reply and retain the role of the receiver-SMTP. If program-A is currently the sender-SMTP and it sends the TURN command and receives an OK reply (250) then program-A becomes the receiver-SMTP. Program-A is then in the initial state as if the transmission channel just opened, and it then sends the 220 service ready greeting. If program-B is currently the receiver-SMTP and it receives the TURN command and sends an OK reply (250) then program-B becomes the sender-SMTP. Program-B is then in the initial state as if the transmission channel just opened, and it then expects to receive the 220 service ready greeting. To refuse to change roles the receiver sends the 502 reply.
There are restrictions on the order in which these command may be used. The first command in a session must be the HELO command. The HELO command may be used later in a session as well. If the HELO command argument is not acceptable a 501 failure reply must be returned and the receiver-SMTP must stay in the same state. The NOOP, HELP, EXPN, and VRFY commands can be used at any time during a session. The MAIL, SEND, SOML, or SAML commands begin a mail transaction. Once started a mail transaction consists of one of the transaction beginning commands, one or more RCPT commands, and a DATA command, in that order. A mail transaction may be aborted by the RSET command. There may be zero or more transactions in a session. If the transaction beginning command argument is not acceptable a 501 failure reply must be returned and the receiver-SMTP must stay in the same state. If the commands in a transaction are out of order a 503 failure reply must be returned and the receiver-SMTP must stay in the same state. The last command in a session must be the QUIT command. The QUIT command can not be used at any other time in a session. 4.1.2. COMMAND SYNTAX The commands consist of a command code followed by an argument field. Command codes are four alphabetic characters. Upper and lower case alphabetic characters are to be treated identically. Thus, any of the following may represent the mail command: MAIL Mail mail MaIl mAIl This also applies to any symbols representing parameter values, such as "TO" or "to" for the forward-path. Command codes and the argument fields are separated by one or more spaces. However, within the reverse-path and forward-path arguments case is important. In particular, in some hosts the user "smith" is different from the user "Smith".
The argument field consists of a variable length character string ending with the character sequence <CRLF>. The receiver is to take no action until this sequence is received. Square brackets denote an optional argument field. If the option is not taken, the appropriate default is implied.
The following are the SMTP commands: HELO <SP> <domain> <CRLF> MAIL <SP> FROM:<reverse-path> <CRLF> RCPT <SP> TO:<forward-path> <CRLF> DATA <CRLF> RSET <CRLF> SEND <SP> FROM:<reverse-path> <CRLF> SOML <SP> FROM:<reverse-path> <CRLF> SAML <SP> FROM:<reverse-path> <CRLF> VRFY <SP> <string> <CRLF> EXPN <SP> <string> <CRLF> HELP [<SP> <string>] <CRLF> NOOP <CRLF> QUIT <CRLF> TURN <CRLF>
The syntax of the above argument fields (using BNF notation where applicable) is given below. The "..." notation indicates that a field may be repeated one or more times. <reverse-path> ::= <path> <forward-path> ::= <path> <path> ::= "<" [ <a-d-l> ":" ] <mailbox> ">" <a-d-l> ::= <at-domain> | <at-domain> "," <a-d-l> <at-domain> ::= "@" <domain> <domain> ::= <element> | <element> "." <domain> <element> ::= <name> | "#" <number> | "[" <dotnum> "]" <mailbox> ::= <local-part> "@" <domain> <local-part> ::= <dot-string> | <quoted-string> <name> ::= <a> <ldh-str> <let-dig> <ldh-str> ::= <let-dig-hyp> | <let-dig-hyp> <ldh-str> <let-dig> ::= <a> | <d> <let-dig-hyp> ::= <a> | <d> | "-" <dot-string> ::= <string> | <string> "." <dot-string> <string> ::= <char> | <char> <string> <quoted-string> ::= """ <qtext> """ <qtext> ::= "\" <x> | "\" <x> <qtext> | <q> | <q> <qtext> <char> ::= <c> | "\" <x> <dotnum> ::= <snum> "." <snum> "." <snum> "." <snum> <number> ::= <d> | <d> <number> <CRLF> ::= <CR> <LF>
<CR> ::= the carriage return character (ASCII code 13) <LF> ::= the line feed character (ASCII code 10) <SP> ::= the space character (ASCII code 32) <snum> ::= one, two, or three digits representing a decimal integer value in the range 0 through 255 <a> ::= any one of the 52 alphabetic characters A through Z in upper case and a through z in lower case <c> ::= any one of the 128 ASCII characters, but not any <special> or <SP> <d> ::= any one of the ten digits 0 through 9 <q> ::= any one of the 128 ASCII characters except <CR>, <LF>, quote ("), or backslash (\) <x> ::= any one of the 128 ASCII characters (no exceptions) <special> ::= "<" | ">" | "(" | ")" | "[" | "]" | "\" | "." | "," | ";" | ":" | "@" """ | the control characters (ASCII codes 0 through 31 inclusive and 127) Note that the backslash, "\", is a quote character, which is used to indicate that the next character is to be used literally (instead of its normal interpretation). For example, "Joe\,Smith" could be used to indicate a single nine character user field with comma being the fourth character of the field. Hosts are generally known by names which are translated to addresses in each host. Note that the name elements of domains are the official names -- no use of nicknames or aliases is allowed. Sometimes a host is not known to the translation function and communication is blocked. To bypass this barrier two numeric forms are also allowed for host "names". One form is a decimal integer prefixed by a pound sign, "#", which indicates the number is the address of the host. Another form is four small decimal integers separated by dots and enclosed by brackets, e.g., "[123.255.37.2]", which indicates a 32-bit ARPA Internet Address in four 8-bit fields.
The time stamp line and the return path line are formally defined as follows: <return-path-line> ::= "Return-Path:" <SP><reverse-path><CRLF> <time-stamp-line> ::= "Received:" <SP> <stamp> <CRLF> <stamp> ::= <from-domain> <by-domain> <opt-info> ";" <daytime> <from-domain> ::= "FROM" <SP> <domain> <SP> <by-domain> ::= "BY" <SP> <domain> <SP> <opt-info> ::= [<via>] [<with>] [<id>] [<for>] <via> ::= "VIA" <SP> <link> <SP> <with> ::= "WITH" <SP> <protocol> <SP> <id> ::= "ID" <SP> <string> <SP> <for> ::= "FOR" <SP> <path> <SP> <link> ::= The standard names for links are registered with the Network Information Center. <protocol> ::= The standard names for protocols are registered with the Network Information Center. <daytime> ::= <SP> <date> <SP> <time> <date> ::= <dd> <SP> <mon> <SP> <yy> <time> ::= <hh> ":" <mm> ":" <ss> <SP> <zone> <dd> ::= the one or two decimal integer day of the month in the range 1 to 31. <mon> ::= "JAN" | "FEB" | "MAR" | "APR" | "MAY" | "JUN" | "JUL" | "AUG" | "SEP" | "OCT" | "NOV" | "DEC" <yy> ::= the two decimal integer year of the century in the range 00 to 99.
<hh> ::= the two decimal integer hour of the day in the range 00 to 24. <mm> ::= the two decimal integer minute of the hour in the range 00 to 59. <ss> ::= the two decimal integer second of the minute in the range 00 to 59. <zone> ::= "UT" for Universal Time (the default) or other time zone designator (as in [2]). ------------------------------------------------------------- Return Path Example Return-Path: <@CHARLIE.ARPA,@BAKER.ARPA:JOE@ABLE.ARPA> Example 9 ------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------- Time Stamp Line Example Received: FROM ABC.ARPA BY XYZ.ARPA ; 22 OCT 81 09:23:59 PDT Received: from ABC.ARPA by XYZ.ARPA via TELENET with X25 id M12345 for Smith@PDQ.ARPA ; 22 OCT 81 09:23:59 PDT Example 10 -------------------------------------------------------------
4.2. SMTP REPLIES Replies to SMTP commands are devised to ensure the synchronization of requests and actions in the process of mail transfer, and to guarantee that the sender-SMTP always knows the state of the receiver-SMTP. Every command must generate exactly one reply. The details of the command-reply sequence are made explicit in Section 5.3 on Sequencing and Section 5.4 State Diagrams. An SMTP reply consists of a three digit number (transmitted as three alphanumeric characters) followed by some text. The number is intended for use by automata to determine what state to enter next; the text is meant for the human user. It is intended that the three digits contain enough encoded information that the sender-SMTP need not examine the text and may either discard it or pass it on to the user, as appropriate. In particular, the text may be receiver-dependent and context dependent, so there are likely to be varying texts for each reply code. A discussion of the theory of reply codes is given in Appendix E. Formally, a reply is defined to be the sequence: a three-digit code, <SP>, one line of text, and <CRLF>, or a multiline reply (as defined in Appendix E). Only the EXPN and HELP commands are expected to result in multiline replies in normal circumstances, however multiline replies are allowed for any command.
4.2.1. REPLY CODES BY FUNCTION GROUPS 500 Syntax error, command unrecognized [This may include errors such as command line too long] 501 Syntax error in parameters or arguments 502 Command not implemented 503 Bad sequence of commands 504 Command parameter not implemented 211 System status, or system help reply 214 Help message [Information on how to use the receiver or the meaning of a particular non-standard command; this reply is useful only to the human user] 220 <domain> Service ready 221 <domain> Service closing transmission channel 421 <domain> Service not available, closing transmission channel [This may be a reply to any command if the service knows it must shut down] 250 Requested mail action okay, completed 251 User not local; will forward to <forward-path> 450 Requested mail action not taken: mailbox unavailable [E.g., mailbox busy] 550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable [E.g., mailbox not found, no access] 451 Requested action aborted: error in processing 551 User not local; please try <forward-path> 452 Requested action not taken: insufficient system storage 552 Requested mail action aborted: exceeded storage allocation 553 Requested action not taken: mailbox name not allowed [E.g., mailbox syntax incorrect] 354 Start mail input; end with <CRLF>.<CRLF> 554 Transaction failed
4.2.2. NUMERIC ORDER LIST OF REPLY CODES 211 System status, or system help reply 214 Help message [Information on how to use the receiver or the meaning of a particular non-standard command; this reply is useful only to the human user] 220 <domain> Service ready 221 <domain> Service closing transmission channel 250 Requested mail action okay, completed 251 User not local; will forward to <forward-path> 354 Start mail input; end with <CRLF>.<CRLF> 421 <domain> Service not available, closing transmission channel [This may be a reply to any command if the service knows it must shut down] 450 Requested mail action not taken: mailbox unavailable [E.g., mailbox busy] 451 Requested action aborted: local error in processing 452 Requested action not taken: insufficient system storage 500 Syntax error, command unrecognized [This may include errors such as command line too long] 501 Syntax error in parameters or arguments 502 Command not implemented 503 Bad sequence of commands 504 Command parameter not implemented 550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable [E.g., mailbox not found, no access] 551 User not local; please try <forward-path> 552 Requested mail action aborted: exceeded storage allocation 553 Requested action not taken: mailbox name not allowed [E.g., mailbox syntax incorrect] 554 Transaction failed
4.3. SEQUENCING OF COMMANDS AND REPLIES The communication between the sender and receiver is intended to be an alternating dialogue, controlled by the sender. As such, the sender issues a command and the receiver responds with a reply. The sender must wait for this response before sending further commands. One important reply is the connection greeting. Normally, a receiver will send a 220 "Service ready" reply when the connection is completed. The sender should wait for this greeting message before sending any commands. Note: all the greeting type replies have the official name of the server host as the first word following the reply code. For example, 220 <SP> USC-ISIF.ARPA <SP> Service ready <CRLF> The table below lists alternative success and failure replies for each command. These must be strictly adhered to; a receiver may substitute text in the replies, but the meaning and action implied by the code numbers and by the specific command reply sequence cannot be altered. COMMAND-REPLY SEQUENCES Each command is listed with its possible replies. The prefixes used before the possible replies are "P" for preliminary (not used in SMTP), "I" for intermediate, "S" for success, "F" for failure, and "E" for error. The 421 reply (service not available, closing transmission channel) may be given to any command if the SMTP-receiver knows it must shut down. This listing forms the basis for the State Diagrams in Section 4.4. CONNECTION ESTABLISHMENT S: 220 F: 421 HELO S: 250 E: 500, 501, 504, 421 MAIL S: 250 F: 552, 451, 452 E: 500, 501, 421
RCPT S: 250, 251 F: 550, 551, 552, 553, 450, 451, 452 E: 500, 501, 503, 421 DATA I: 354 -> data -> S: 250 F: 552, 554, 451, 452 F: 451, 554 E: 500, 501, 503, 421 RSET S: 250 E: 500, 501, 504, 421 SEND S: 250 F: 552, 451, 452 E: 500, 501, 502, 421 SOML S: 250 F: 552, 451, 452 E: 500, 501, 502, 421 SAML S: 250 F: 552, 451, 452 E: 500, 501, 502, 421 VRFY S: 250, 251 F: 550, 551, 553 E: 500, 501, 502, 504, 421 EXPN S: 250 F: 550 E: 500, 501, 502, 504, 421 HELP S: 211, 214 E: 500, 501, 502, 504, 421 NOOP S: 250 E: 500, 421 QUIT S: 221 E: 500 TURN S: 250 F: 502 E: 500, 503
4.4. STATE DIAGRAMS Following are state diagrams for a simple-minded SMTP implementation. Only the first digit of the reply codes is used. There is one state diagram for each group of SMTP commands. The command groupings were determined by constructing a model for each command and then collecting together the commands with structurally identical models. For each command there are three possible outcomes: "success" (S), "failure" (F), and "error" (E). In the state diagrams below we use the symbol B for "begin", and the symbol W for "wait for reply". First, the diagram that represents most of the SMTP commands: 1,3 +---+ ----------->| E | | +---+ | +---+ cmd +---+ 2 +---+ | B |---------->| W |---------->| S | +---+ +---+ +---+ | | 4,5 +---+ ----------->| F | +---+ This diagram models the commands: HELO, MAIL, RCPT, RSET, SEND, SOML, SAML, VRFY, EXPN, HELP, NOOP, QUIT, TURN.
A more complex diagram models the DATA command: +---+ DATA +---+ 1,2 +---+ | B |---------->| W |-------------------->| E | +---+ +---+ ------------>+---+ 3| |4,5 | | | | -------------- ----- | | | | +---+ | ---------- -------->| S | | | | | +---+ | | ------------ | | | | V 1,3| |2 | +---+ data +---+ --------------->+---+ | |---------->| W | | F | +---+ +---+-------------------->+---+ 4,5 Note that the "data" here is a series of lines sent from the sender to the receiver with no response expected until the last line is sent.
4.5. DETAILS 4.5.1. MINIMUM IMPLEMENTATION In order to make SMTP workable, the following minimum implementation is required for all receivers: COMMANDS -- HELO MAIL RCPT DATA RSET NOOP QUIT 4.5.2. TRANSPARENCY Without some provision for data transparency the character sequence "<CRLF>.<CRLF>" ends the mail text and cannot be sent by the user. In general, users are not aware of such "forbidden" sequences. To allow all user composed text to be transmitted transparently the following procedures are used. 1. Before sending a line of mail text the sender-SMTP checks the first character of the line. If it is a period, one additional period is inserted at the beginning of the line. 2. When a line of mail text is received by the receiver-SMTP it checks the line. If the line is composed of a single period it is the end of mail. If the first character is a period and there are other characters on the line, the first character is deleted. The mail data may contain any of the 128 ASCII characters. All characters are to be delivered to the recipient's mailbox including format effectors and other control characters. If the transmission channel provides an 8-bit byte (octets) data stream, the 7-bit ASCII codes are transmitted right justified in the octets with the high order bits cleared to zero. In some systems it may be necessary to transform the data as it is received and stored. This may be necessary for hosts that use a different character set than ASCII as their local character set, or that store data in records rather than
strings. If such transforms are necessary, they must be reversible -- especially if such transforms are applied to mail being relayed. 4.5.3. SIZES There are several objects that have required minimum maximum sizes. That is, every implementation must be able to receive objects of at least these sizes, but must not send objects larger than these sizes. **************************************************** * * * TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT POSSIBLE, IMPLEMENTATION * * TECHNIQUES WHICH IMPOSE NO LIMITS ON THE LENGTH * * OF THESE OBJECTS SHOULD BE USED. * * * **************************************************** user The maximum total length of a user name is 64 characters. domain The maximum total length of a domain name or number is 64 characters. path The maximum total length of a reverse-path or forward-path is 256 characters (including the punctuation and element separators). command line The maximum total length of a command line including the command word and the <CRLF> is 512 characters. reply line The maximum total length of a reply line including the reply code and the <CRLF> is 512 characters.
text line The maximum total length of a text line including the <CRLF> is 1000 characters (but not counting the leading dot duplicated for transparency). recipients buffer The maximum total number of recipients that must be buffered is 100 recipients. **************************************************** * * * TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT POSSIBLE, IMPLEMENTATION * * TECHNIQUES WHICH IMPOSE NO LIMITS ON THE LENGTH * * OF THESE OBJECTS SHOULD BE USED. * * * **************************************************** Errors due to exceeding these limits may be reported by using the reply codes, for example: 500 Line too long. 501 Path too long 552 Too many recipients. 552 Too much mail data.

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