Obsoletes: RFC #733 (NIC #41952)
ARPA INTERNET TEXT MESSAGES
August 13, 1982
David H. Crocker
Dept. of Electrical Engineering
University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711
Network: DCrocker @ UDel-Relay
By 1977, the Arpanet employed several informal standards for the text messages (mail) sent among its host computers. It was felt necessary to codify these practices and provide for those features that seemed imminent. The result of that effort was Request for Comments (RFC) #733, "Standard for the Format of ARPA Network Text Message", by Crocker, Vittal, Pogran, and Henderson. The specification attempted to avoid major changes in existing software, while permitting several new features.
This document revises the specifications in RFC #733, in order to serve the needs of the larger and more complex ARPA Internet. Some of RFC #733's features failed to gain adequate acceptance. In order to simplify the standard and the software that follows it, these features have been removed. A different addressing scheme is used, to handle the case of inter-network mail; and the concept of re-transmission has been introduced.
This specification is intended for use in the ARPA Internet. However, an attempt has been made to free it of any dependence on that environment, so that it can be applied to other network text message systems.
The specification of RFC #733 took place over the course of one year, using the ARPANET mail environment, itself, to provide an on-going forum for discussing the capabilities to be included. More than twenty individuals, from across the country, participated in the original discussion. The development of this revised specification has, similarly, utilized network mail-based group discussion. Both specification efforts greatly benefited from the comments and ideas of the participants.
The syntax of the standard, in RFC #733, was originally specified in the Backus-Naur Form (BNF) meta-language. Ken L. Harrenstien, of SRI International, was responsible for re-coding the BNF into an augmented BNF that makes the representation smaller and easier to understand.