Network Working Group                              David D. Clark (MIT)
Request for Comments: 993                         Mark L. Lambert (MIT)
Obsoletes:  RFC-984                                       December 1986

        PCMAIL: A Distributed Mail System for Personal Computers

1. Status of this Document

   This document is a discussion of the Pcmail workstation-based distri-
   buted mail system.  It is a revision of the design published in NIC
   RFC-984.  The revision is based on discussion and comment from a
   variety of sources, as well as further research into the design of
   interactive Pcmail clients and the use of client code on machines
   other than IBM PCs.  As this design may change, implementation of
   this document is not advised.  Distribution of this memo is unlimit-

2. Introduction

   Pcmail is a distributed mail system providing mail service to an ar-
   bitrary number of users, each of whom owns one or more workstations.
   Pcmail's motivation is to provide very flexible mail service to a
   wide variety of different workstations, ranging in power from small,
   resource-limited machines like IBM PCs to resource-rich (where
   "resources" are primarily processor speed and disk space) machines
   like Suns or Microvaxes.  It attempts to provide limited service to
   resource-limited workstations while still providing full service to
   resource-rich machines.  It is intended to work well with machines
   only infrequently connected to a network as well as machines per-
   manently connected to a network.  It is also designed to offer disk-
   less workstations full mail service.

   The system is divided into two halves.  The first consists of a sin-
   gle entity called the "repository".  The repository is a storage
   center for incoming mail.  Mail for a Pcmail user can arrive exter-
   nally from the Internet or internally from other repository users.
   The repository also maintains a stable copy of each user's mail state
   (this will hereafter be referred to as the user's "global mail
   state").  The repository is therefore typically a computer with a
   large amount of disk storage.

   The second half of Pcmail consists of one or more "clients".  Each
   Pcmail user may have an arbitrary number of clients, typically
   single-user workstations.  The clients provide a user with a friendly
   means of accessing the user's global mail state over a network.  In
   order to make the interaction between the repository and a user's
   clients more efficient, each client maintains a local copy of its

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   user's global mail state, called the "local mail state".  It is as-
   sumed that clients, possibly being small personal computers, may not
   always have access to a network (and therefore to the global mail
   state in the repository).  This means that the local and global mail
   states may not be identical all the time, making synchronization
   between local and global mail states necessary.

   Clients communicate with the repository via the Distributed Mail Sys-
   tem Protocol (DMSP); the specification for this protocol appears in
   appendix A. The repository is therefore a DMSP server in addition to
   a mail end-site and storage facility.  DMSP provides a complete set
   of mail manipulation operations ("send a message", "delete a mes-
   sage", "print a message", etc.).  DMSP also provides special opera-
   tions to allow easy synchronization between a user's global mail
   state and his clients' local mail states.  Particular attention has
   been paid to the way in which DMSP operations act on a user's mail
   state.  All DMSP operations are failure-atomic (that is, they are
   guaranteed either to succeed completely, or leave the user's mail
   state unchanged ).  A client can be abruptly disconnected from the
   repository without leaving inconsistent or damaged mail states.

   Pcmail's design has been directed by the characteristics of currently
   available workstations.  Some workstations are fairly portable, and
   can be packed up and moved in the back seat of an automobile.  A few
   are truly portable--about the size of a briefcase--and battery-
   powered.  Some workstations have constant access to a high-speed
   local-area network; pcmail should allow for "on-line" mail delivery
   for these machines while at the same time providing "batch" mail
   delivery for other workstations that are not always connected to a
   network.  Portable and semi-portable workstations tend to be
   resource-poor.  A typical IBM PC has a small amount (typically less
   than one megabyte) of main memory and little in the way of mass
   storage (floppy-disk drives that can access perhaps 360 kilobytes of
   data).  Pcmail must be able to provide machines like this with ade-
   quate mail service without hampering its performance on more
   resource-rich workstations. Finally, all workstations have some com-
   mon characteristics that Pcmail should take advantage of.  For in-
   stance, workstations are fairly inexpensive compared to the various
   time-shared systems that most people use for mail service.  This
   means that people may own more than one workstation, perhaps putting
   a Microvax in an office and an IBM PC at home.

   Pcmail's design reflects the differing characteristics of the various
   workstations.  Since one person can own several workstations, Pcmail
   allows users multiple access points to their mail state.  Each Pcmail
   user can have several client workstations, each of which can access
   the user's mail by communicating with the repository over a network.
   The clients all maintain local copies of the user's global mail
   state, and synchronize the local and global states using DMSP.

   It is also possible that some workstations will only infrequently be

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   connected to a network (and thus be able to communicate with the re-
   pository).  The Pcmail design therefore allows two modes of communi-
   cation between repository and client.  "Interactive mode" is used
   when the client is always connected to the network.  Any changes to
   the client's local mail state are immediately also made to the
   repository's global mail state, and any incoming mail is immediately
   transmitted from repository to client.  "Batch mode" is used by
   clients that have infrequent access to the repository.  Users manipu-
   late the client's local mail state, queueing the changes locally.
   When the client is next connected to the repository, the changes are
   executed, and the client's local mail state is synchronized with the
   repository's global mail state.

   Finally, the Pcmail design minimizes the effect of using a resource-
   poor workstation as a client.  Mail messages are split into two
   parts: a "descriptor" and a "body".  The descriptor is a capsule mes-
   sage summary whose length (typically about 100 bytes) is independent
   of the actual message length.  The body is the actual message text,
   including an RFC-822 standard message header.  While the client may
   not have enough storage to hold a complete set of messages, it can
   usually hold a complete set of descriptors, thus providing the user
   with at least a summary of his mail state.  For clients with extreme-
   ly limited resources, Pcmail allows the storage of partial sets of
   descriptors.  Although this means the user does not have a complete
   local mail state, he can at least look at summaries of some messages.
   In the cases where the client cannot immediately store message bo-
   dies, it can always pull them over from the repository as storage be-
   comes available.

   The remainder of this document is broken up into sections discussing
   the following:

      - The repository architecture

      - DMSP, its operations, and motivation for its design

      - The client architecture

      - A typical DMSP session between the repository and a

      - The current Pcmail implementation

3. Repository architecture

   A typical machine running repository code has a relatively powerful
   processor and a large amount of disk storage.  It must also be a per-
   manent network site, for two reasons.  First clients communicate with
   the repository over a network, and rely on the repository's being
   available at any time.  Second, people sending mail to repository
   users rely on the repository's being available to receive mail at any

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   The repository must perform several tasks.  First, and most impor-
   tantly, the repository must efficiently manage a potentially large
   number of users and their mail states.  Mail must be reliably stored
   in a manner that makes it easy for multiple clients to access the
   global mail state and synchronize their local mail states with the
   global state.  Since a large category of electronic mail is
   represented by bulletin boards (bboards), the repository should effi-
   ciently manage bboard mail, using a minimum of storage to store
   bboard messages in a manner that still allows any user subscribing to
   the bboard to read the mail.  Second, the repository must be able to
   communicate efficiently with its clients.  The protocol used to com-
   municate between repository and client must be reliable and must pro-
   vide operations that (1) allow typical mail manipulation, and (2)
   support Pcmail's distributed nature by allowing efficient synchroni-
   zation between local and global mail states.  Third, the repository
   must be able to process mail from sources outside the repository's
   own user community (a primary outside source is the Internet).  In-
   ternet mail will arrive with a NIC RFC-822 standard message header;
   the recipient names in the message must be properly translated from
   the RFC-822 namespace into the repository's namespace.

3.1. Management of user mail state

   Pcmail divides the world into a community of users.  Each user is re-
   ferred to by a user object.  A user object consists of a unique name,
   a password (which the user's clients use to authenticate themselves
   to the repository before manipulating a global mail state), a list of
   "client objects" describing those clients belonging to the user, and
   a list of "mailbox objects".

   A client object consists of a unique name and a status.  A user has
   one client object for every client he owns; a client cannot communi-
   cate with the repository unless it has a corresponding client object
   in a user's client list.  Client objects therefore serve as a means
   of identifying valid clients to the repository.  Client objects also
   allow the repository to manage local and global mail state synchroni-
   zation; the repository associates with every global state change a
   list of client objects corresponding to those clients which have not
   recorded the global change locally.

   A client's status is either "active" or "inactive".  The repository
   defines inactive clients as those clients which have not connected to
   the repository within a set time period (one week in the current re-
   pository implementation).  When an inactive client does connect to
   the repository, the repository notifies the client that it has been
   "reset".  The repository resets a client by marking all messages in
   the user's mail state as having changed since the client last logged
   in.  When the client next synchronizes with the repository, it will
   receive a complete copy of the repository's global mail state.  A

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   forced reset is performed on the assumption that enough global state
   changes occur in a week that the client would spend too much time
   performing an ordinary local state-global state synchronization.

   Messages are stored in mailboxes.  Users can have an arbitrary number
   of mailboxes, which serve both to store and to categorize messages.
   A mailbox object both names a mailbox and describes its contents.
   Mailboxes are identified by a unique name; their contents are
   described by three numeric values.  The first is the total number of
   messages in the mailbox, the second is the total number of unseen
   messages (messages that have never been seen by the user via any
   client) in the mailbox, and the third is the mailbox's next available
   message unique identifier (UID).  The above information is stored in
   the mailbox object to allow clients to get a summary of a mailbox's
   contents without having to read all the messages within the mailbox.

   Some mailboxes are special, in that other users may read the messages
   stored in them.  These mailboxes are called "bulletin board mail-
   boxes" or "bboard mailboxes".  The repository uses bboard mailboxes
   to store bboard mail.  Bboard mailboxes differ from ordinary mail-
   boxes in the following ways:

      - Their names are unique across the entire repository;
        for instance, only one bboard mailbox named "sf-lovers"
        may exist in the entire repository community.  This
        does not preclude other users from having an ordinary
        mailbox named "sf-lovers".

      - Subscribers to the bboard are granted read-only access
        to the messages in the bboard mailbox.  The bboard
        mailbox's owner (typically the system manager) has
        read/update/delete access to the mailbox.

   A bboard subscriber keeps track of the messages he has looked at via
   a bboard object.  The bboard object contains the name of the bboard,
   its owner (the user who owns the bboard mailbox where all the mes-
   sages are stored), and the UID of the first message not yet seen by
   the subscriber .

   Users gain read-only access to a bboard by "subscribing" to it; they
   lose that access when they "unsubscribe" to it.

   Associated with each mailbox are an arbitrary number of message ob-
   jects.  Each message is broken into two parts--a "descriptor", which
   contains a summary of useful information about the message, and a
   "body", which is the message text itself, including its NIC RFC-822
   message header.  Each message is assigned a monotonically increasing
   UID based on the owning mailbox's next available UID.  Each mailbox
   has its own set of UIDs which, together with the mailbox name and
   user name, uniquely identify the message within the repository.

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   A descriptor holds the following information: the message UID, the
   message size in bytes and lines, four "useful" message header fields
   (the "date:", "to:", "from:", and "subject:" fields), and sixteen
   flags.  These flags are given identifying numbers 0 through: 15.
   Eight of these flags are reserved for the repository's use.  Some of
   these are actually used by the repository, while others are simply
   held for informational purposes.  In the current repository implemen-
   tation these flags mark:

      - (#0) whether it has been deleted

      - (#1) whether the message has been seen

      - (#2) whether it has been forwarded to the user

      - (#3) whether it has been forwarded by the user

      - (#4) whether it has been filed (written to a text file
        outside the repository)

      - (#5) whether it has been printed (locally or remotely)

      - (#6) whether it has been replied to

      - (#7) whether it has been copied to another mailbox

   The remaining eight flags are reserved for future use.

   Descriptors serve as an efficient means for clients to get message
   information without having to waste time retrieving the message from
   the repository.

3.2. Repository-to-RFC-822 name translation

   "Address objects" provide the repository with a means for translating
   the RFC-822-style mail addresses in Internet messages into repository
   names.  The repository provides its own namespace for message iden-
   tification.  Any message is uniquely identified by the triple (user-
   name, mailbox-name, message-UID).  Any mailbox is uniquely identified
   by the pair (user-name, mailbox-name).  Thus to send a message
   between two repository users, a user would address the message to
   (user-name, mailbox-name).  The repository would deliver the message
   to the named user and mailbox, and assign it a UID based on the re-
   quested mailbox's next available UID.

   In order to translate between RFC-822-style mail addresses and repo-
   sitory names, the repository maintains a list of address objects.
   Each address object is an association between an RFC-822-style ad-
   dress and a (user-name, mailbox-name) pair.  When mail arrives from
   the Internet, the repository can use the address object list to
   translate the recipients into (user-name, mailbox-name) pairs and

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   route the message correctly.

4. Communication between repository and client: DMSP

   The Distributed Mail System Protocol (DMSP) is a block-stream proto-
   col that defines and manipulates the objects mentioned in the previ-
   ous section.  It has been designed to work with Pcmail's single-
   repository/multiple-client model of the world.  In addition to pro-
   viding typical mail manipulation functions, DMSP provides functions
   that allow easy synchronization of global and local mail states.

   DMSP is implemented on top of the Unified Stream Protocol (USP),
   specified in MIT-LCS RFC-272.  USP provides a reliable virtual cir-
   cuit block-stream connection between two machines.  It defines a
   basic set of data types ("strings", "integers", "booleans", etc.);
   instances of these data types are grouped in an application-defined
   order to form USP blocks.  Each USP block is defined by a numeric
   "block type"; a USP application can thus interpret a block's contents
   based on knowledge of the block's type.  DMSP consists of a set of
   operations, each of which is comprised of one or more different USP
   blocks that are sent between repository and client.

   A DMSP session proceeds as follows: a client begins the session with
   the repository by opening a USP connection to the repository's
   machine.  The client then authenticates both itself and its user to
   the repository with a "login" operation.  If the authentication is
   successful, the user performs an arbitrary number of DMSP operations
   before ending the session with a "logout" operation (at which time
   the connection is closed by the repository).

   Because DMSP can manipulate a pair of mail states (local and global)
   at once, it is extremely important that all DMSP operations are
   failure-atomic.  Failure of any DMSP operation must leave both states
   in a consistent, known state.  For this reason, a DMSP operation is
   defined to have failed unless an explicit acknowledgement is received
   by the operation initiator.  This acknowledgement can take one of two
   basic forms, based on two broad categories that all DMSP operations
   fall into.  First, an operation can be a request to perform some mail
   state modification, in which case the repository will acknowledge the
   request with either an "ok" or a "failure" (in which case the reason
   for the failure is also returned).  Second, an operation can be a re-
   quest for information, in which case the request is acknowledged by
   the repository's providing the information to the client.  Operations
   such as "delete a message" fall into the first category; operations
   like "send a list of mailboxes" fall into the second category.

   Following is a general discussion of all the DMSP operations.  The
   operations are broken down by type: general operations, user opera-
   tions, client operations, mailbox operations, address operations,
   bboard operations, and message operations.

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

4.1. General operations

   The first group of DMSP operations perform general functions that
   operate on no one particular class of object.  DMSP has two general
   operations, which provide the following services:

   In order to prevent protocol version skew between clients and the re-
   pository, DMSP provides a "send-version" operation.  The client sup-
   plies its DMSP version number as an argument; the operation succeeds
   if the supplied version number matches the repository's DMSP version
   number.  It fails if the two version numbers do not match.  The ver-
   sion number is an unsigned quantity, like "100", "101", "200".  The
   "send-version" operation should be the first that a client sends to
   the repository, since no other operation my work if the client and
   repository are using different versions of DMSP.

   Users can send mail to other users via the "send-message" operation.
   The message must have an Internet-style header as defined by NIC
   RFC-822.  The repository takes the message and distributes it to the
   mailboxes specified on the "to:", "cc:", and "bcc:" fields of the
   message header.  If one or more of the mailboxes exists outside the
   repository's user community, the repository is responsible for hand-
   ing the message to a local SMTP server.

   An OK is sent from the repository only if the entire message was suc-
   cessfully transmitted.  If the message was destined for the Internet,
   the send-message operation is successful if the message was success-
   fully transmitted to the local SMTP server.

4.2. User operations

   The next series of DMSP operations manipulates user objects.  The
   most common of these operations are "login" and "logout".  A client
   must perform a login operation before being able to access a user's
   mail state.  A DMSP login block contains five items: (1) the user's
   name, (2) the user's password, (3) the name of the client performing
   the login, (4) a flag telling the repository to create a client ob-
   ject for the client if one does not exist, and (5) a flag set to TRUE
   if the client wishes to operate in "batch mode" and FALSE if the
   client wishes to operate in "interactive" mode.  The flag value al-
   lows the repository to tune internal parameters for either mode of

   The repository can return either an OK block (indicating successful
   authentication), a FAILURE block (indicating failed authentication),
   or a FORCE-RESET block.  This last is sent if the client logging in
   has been marked as "inactive" by the repository (clients are marked
   inactive if they have not connected to the repository in over a
   week).  The FORCE-RESET block indicates that the client should erase
   its local mail state and pull over a complete version of the
   repository's mail state.  This is done on the assumption that so many

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

   mail state changes have been made in a week that it would be ineffi-
   cient to perform a normal synchronization.

   When a client has completed a session with the repository, it per-
   forms a logout operation.  This allows the repository to perform any
   necessary cleanup before closing the USP connection.

   A user can change his password via the "set-password" operation.  The
   operation works much the same as the UNIX change-password operation,
   taking as arguments the user's current password and a desired new
   password.  If the current password given matches the user's current
   password, the user's current password is changed to the new password

4.3. Client operations

   DMSP provides four operations to manipulate client objects.  The
   first, "list-clients", tells the repository to send the user's client
   list to the requesting client.  The list takes the form of a series
   of (client-name, status) pairs.  The status is either 0 (inactive) or
   1 (active).

   The "create-client" operation allows a user to add a client object to
   his list of client objects.  Although the login operation duplicates
   this functionality via the "create-this-client?" flag, the add-client
   operation is a useful means of creating a number of new client ob-
   jects while logged into the repository via an existing client.  The
   create-client operation requires the name of the client to add.

   The "delete-client" operation removes an existing client object from
   a user's client list.  The client being removed cannot be in use by
   anyone at the time.

   The last client operation, "reset-client", causes the repository to
   mark all messages in the user's mail state as having changed since
   the client last logged in.  When a client next synchronizes with the
   repository, it will end up receiving a complete copy of the
   repository's global mail state.  This is useful for two reasons.
   First, a client's local mail state could easily become lost or dam-
   aged, especially if it is stored on a floppy disk.  Second, if a
   client has been marked as inactive by the repository, the reset-
   client operation provides a fast way of resynchronizing with the re-
   pository, assuming that so many differences exist between the local
   and global mail states that a normal synchronization would take far
   too much time.

4.4. Mailbox operations

   DMSP supports five operations that manipulate mailbox objects.
   First, "list-mailboxes" has the repository send to the requesting
   client information on each mailbox.  This information consists of the

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

   mailbox name, total message count, unseen message count, and "next
   available UID".  This operation is useful in synchronizing local and
   global mail states, since it allows a client to compare the user's
   global mailbox list with a client's local mailbox list.  The list of
   mailboxes also provides a quick summary of each mailbox's contents
   without having the contents present.

   The "create-mailbox" has the repository create a new mailbox and at-
   tach it to the user's list of mailboxes.  An address object binding
   the (user-name, mailbox-name) pair to an RFC-822-style address is au-
   tomatically created and placed in the repository's list of address
   objects.  This allows mail coming from the Internet to be correctly
   routed to the new mailbox.

   "Delete-mailbox" removes a mailbox from the user's list of mailboxes.
   All messages within the mailbox are also deleted and permanently re-
   moved from the system.  Any address objects binding the mailbox name
   to RFC-822-style mailbox addresses are also removed from the system.

   "Reset-mailbox" causes the repository to mark all the messages in a
   named mailbox as having changed since the current client last saw
   them.  When the client next synchronizes with the repository, it will
   receive a complete copy of the named mailbox's mail state.  This
   operation is merely a more specific version of the reset-client
   operation (which allows the client to pull over a complete copy of
   the user's global mail state).  Its primary use is for mailboxes
   whose contents have accidentally been destroyed locally.

   Finally, DMSP has an "expunge-mailbox" operation.  Any message can be
   deleted and "undeleted" at will.  Deletions are made permanent by
   performing an expunge-mailbox operation.  The expunge operation
   causes the repository to look through a named mailbox, removing from
   the system any messages marked "deleted".

4.5. Address operations

   DMSP provides three operations that allow users to manipulate address
   objects.  First, the "list-address" operation returns a list of ad-
   dress objects associated with a particular (user-name, mailbox-name)

   The "create-address" operation adds a new address object that associ-
   ates a (user-name, mailbox-name) pair with a given RFC-822-style
   mailbox address.

   Finally, the "delete-address" operation destroys the address object
   binding the given RFC-822-style mail address and the given (user-
   name, mailbox-name) pair.

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

4.6. Bboard operations

   DMSP provides seven bulletin board operations.  The first, "list-
   bboards", gives the user a list of the bboards he is currently sub-
   scribing to.  The list contains an entry for each bboard that the
   user subscribes to.  Each entry contains the following information:

      - The bulletin board's name

      - The UID of the first message the subscriber has not yet

      - The highest message UID in the bulletin board

      - The number of messages the subscriber has not yet seen

   "List-all-bboards" gives the user a list of all bboards he can sub-
   scribe to.

   "Create-bboard" allows a user to create a bboard mailbox.  The name
   given must be unique across the entire repository user community.
   Once the bboard mailbox has been created, other users may subscribe
   to the bboard, using bboard objects to keep track of which messages
   they have read on which bboards.

   "Delete-bboard" allows a bboard's owner to delete a bboard mailbox.
   Subscribers who attempt to read from a bboard mailbox after it has
   been deleted are told that the bboard no longer exists.

   DMSP also provides operations to subscribe to, and unsubscribe from,
   any bboard.  "Subscribe-bboard" adds a bboard object to the users
   bboard object list; "unsubscribe-bboard" removes a bboard object from
   the list.  Note that this does not delete the bboard mailbox (obvi-
   ously only the bboard's owner can do that).  It merely removes the
   user from the list of the bboard's subscribers.

   DMSP allows for the user to tell the repository which messages in a
   bboard he has seen.  Every bboard object contains the UID of the
   first message the user has not yet seen; the "set-first-unread-
   message-UID" operation updates that number, insuring that the user
   sees a given bboard message only once.

4.7. Message operations

   The most commonly-manipulated Pcmail objects are messages; DMSP
   therefore provides special message operations to allow efficient syn-
   chronization, as well as a set of operations to perform standard
   message-manipulation functions.  In the following paragraphs, the
   terms "message" and "descriptor" will be used interchangeably.

   A user may request a series of descriptors with the "get-descriptors"

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

   operation.  The series is identified by a pair of message UIDs,
   representing the lower and upper bounds of the list.  Since UIDs are
   defined to be monotonically increasing numbers, a pair of UIDs is
   sufficient to completely identify the series of descriptors.  If the
   lower bound UID does not exist, the repository starts the series with
   the first message with UID greater than the lower bound.  Similarly,
   if the upper bound does not exist, the repository ends the series
   with the last message with UID less than the upper bound.  If certain
   UIDs within the series no longer exist, the repository (obviously)
   does not send them.  The repository returns the descriptors in a se-
   quence of "choices".  Elements of the sequence can either be descrip-
   tors, in which case the choice is tagged as a descriptor, or they can
   be notification that the requested message has been expunged subse-
   quent to the client's last connection to the repository.  A descrip-
   tor choice is a record containing the message's UID, flags, to, from,
   date, and subject fields, length in bytes, and length in lines.  An
   expunged choice contains only the expunged message's UID.

   The "get-changed-descriptors" operation is intended for use during
   state synchronization.  Whenever a descriptor changes state (is
   deleted, for example), the repository notes those clients which have
   not yet recorded the change locally.  Get-changed-descriptors has the
   repository send to the client a given number of descriptors which
   have changed since the client's last synchronization.  The list sent
   begins with the earliest-changed descriptor.  Note that the list of
   descriptors is only guaranteed to be monotonically increasing for a
   given call to "get-changed-descriptors"; messages with lower UIDs may
   be changed by other clients in between calls to "get-changed-

   Once the changed descriptors have been looked at, a user will want to
   inform the repository that the current client has recorded the change
   locally.  The "reset-changed-descriptors" causes the repository to
   mark as "seen by current client" a given series of descriptors.  The
   series is identified by a low UID and a high UID.  UIDs within the
   series that no longer exist are not reset.

   Message bodies are transmitted from repository to user with the
   "get-message-text" operation.  The separation of "get-descriptors"
   and "get-message-text" operations allows clients with small amounts
   of disk storage to obtain a small message summary (via "get-
   descriptors" or "get-changed-descriptors") without having to pull
   over the entire message.

   Frequently, a message may be too large for some clients to store lo-
   cally.  Users can still look at the message contents via the "print-
   message" operation.  This operation has the repository send a copy of
   the message to a named printer.  The printer name need only have
   meaning to the particular repository implementation; DMSP transmits
   the name only as a means of identification.

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

   Copying of one message into another mailbox is accomplished via the
   "copy-message" operation.  A descriptor list of length one, contain-
   ing a descriptor for the copied message is returned if the copy
   operation is successful.  This descriptor is required because the
   copied message acquires a UID different from the original message.
   The client cannot be expected to know which UID has been assigned the
   copy, hence the repository's sending a descriptor containing the UID.

5. Client Architecture

   Clients can be any of a number of different workstations; Pcmail's
   architecture must therefore take into account the range of charac-
   teristics of these workstations.  First, most workstations are much
   more affordable than the large computers currently used for mail ser-
   vice.  It is therefore possible that a user may well have more than
   one.  Second, some workstations are portable and they are not expect-
   ed to be constantly tied into a network.  Finally, many of the small-
   er workstations resource-poor, so they are not expected to be able to
   store a significant amount of state information locally.  The follow-
   ing subsections describe the particular parts of Pcmail's client ar-
   chitecture that address these different characteristics.

5.1. Multiple clients

   The fact that Pcmail users may own more than one workstation forms
   the rationalization for the multiple client model that Pcmail uses.
   A Pcmail user may have one client at home, another at an office, and
   maybe even a third portable client.  Each client maintains a separate
   copy of the user's mail state, hence Pcmail's distributed nature.
   The notion of separate clients allows Pcmail users to access mail
   state from several different locations.  Pcmail places no restric-
   tions on a user's ability to communicate with the repository from
   several clients at the same time.  Instead, the decision to allow
   several clients concurrent access to a user's mail state is made by
   the repository implementation.

5.2. Synchronization

   Some workstations tend to be small and fairly portable; the likeli-
   hood of their always being connected to a network is relatively
   small.  This is another reason for each client's maintaining a local
   copy of a user's mail state.  The user can then manipulate the local
   mail state while not connected to the network (and the repository).
   This immediately brings up the problem of synchronization between lo-
   cal and global mail states.  The repository is continually in a posi-
   tion to receive global mail state updates, either in the form of in-
   coming mail, or in the form of changes from other clients.  A client
   that is not always connected to the net cannot immediately receive
   the global changes.  In addition, the client's user can make his own
   changes on the local mail state.

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

   Pcmail's architecture allows fast synchronization between client lo-
   cal mail states and the repository's global mail state.  Each client
   is identified in the repository by a client object attached to the
   user.  This object forms the basis for synchronization between local
   and global mail states.  Some of the less common state changes in-
   clude the adding and deleting of user mailboxes and the adding and
   deleting of address objects.  Synchronization of these changes is
   performed via DMSP list operations, which allow clients to compare
   their local versions of mailbox and address object lists with the
   repository's global version and make any appropriate changes.  The
   majority of possible changes to a user's mail state are in the form
   of changed descriptors.  Since most users will have a large number of
   messages, and message states will change relatively often, special
   attention needs to be paid to message synchronization.

   An existing descriptor can be changed in one of two ways: first, one
   of its sixteen flags values can be changed (this encompasses reading
   an unseen message, deleting a message, and expunging a message).  The
   second way to change a descriptor is via the arrival of incoming mail
   or the copying of a message from one mailbox to another.  Both result
   in a new message being added to a mailbox.

   In both the above cases, synchronization is required between the re-
   pository and every client that has not previously noted a change.  To
   keep track of which clients have noticed a global mail state change
   and changed their local states accordingly, each mailbox has associ-
   ated with it a list of active clients.  Each client has a (potential-
   ly empty) "update list" of messages which have changed since that
   client last read them.

   When a client connects to the repository, it executes a DMSP "get-
   changed-descriptors" operation.  This causes the repository to return
   a list of all descriptor objects on that client's update list As the
   client receives the changed descriptors, it can store them locally,
   thus updating the local mail state.  After a changed descriptor has
   been recorded, the client uses the DMSP "reset-descriptors" operation
   to remove the message from its update list.  That descriptor will now
   not be sent to the client unless (1) it is explicitly requested, or
   (2) it changes again.

   In this manner, a client can run through its user's mailboxes, get-
   ting all changed descriptors, incorporating them into the local mail
   state, and marking the change as recorded.

5.3. Batch operation versus interactive operation

   Because of the portable nature of some workstations, they may not al-
   ways be connected to a network (and able to communicate with the re-
   pository).  Since each client maintains a local mail state, Pcmail
   users can manipulate the local state while not connected to the repo-
   sitory.  This is known as "batch" operation, since all changes are

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

   recorded by the client and made to the repository's global state in a
   batch, when the client next connects to the repository.  Interactive
   operation occurs when a client is always connected to the repository.
   In interactive mode, changes made to the local mail state are also
   immediately made to the global state via DMSP operations.

   In batch mode, interaction between client and repository takes the
   following form:  the client connects to the repository and sends over
   all the changes made by the user to the local mail state.  The repo-
   sitory changes its global mail state accordingly.  When all changes
   have been processed, the client begins synchronization, to incor-
   porate newly-arrived mail, as well as mail state changes by other
   clients, into the local state.

   In interactive mode, since local changes are immediately propagated
   to the repository, the first part of batch-type operation is elim-
   inated.  The synchronization process also changes; although one syn-
   chronization is required when the client first opens a connection to
   the repository, subsequent synchronizations can be performed either
   at the user's request or automatically every so often by the client.

5.4. Message summaries

   Smaller workstations may have little in the way of disk storage.
   Clients running on these workstations may never have enough room for
   a complete local copy of a user's global mail state.  This means that
   Pcmail's client architecture must allow user's to obtain a clear pic-
   ture of their mail state without having all their messages present.

   Descriptors provide message information without taking up large
   amounts of storage.  Each descriptor contains a summary of informa-
   tion on a message.  This information includes the message UID, its
   length in bytes and lines, its status (encoded in the eight system-
   defined and eight user-defined flags), and portions of its RFC-822
   header (the "to:", "from:", "subject:" and "date:" fields).  All of
   this information can be encoded in a small (around 100 bytes) data
   structure whose length is independent of the size of the message it

   Most clients should be able to store a complete list of message
   descriptors with little problem.  This allows a user to get a com-
   plete picture of his mail state without having all his messages
   present locally.  If a client has extremely limited amounts of disk
   storage, it is also possible to get a subset of the descriptors from
   the repository.  Short messages can reside on the client, along with
   the descriptors, and long messages can either be printed via the DMSP
   print-message operation, or specially pulled over via the fetch-
   message-text operation.

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6. Typical interactive-style client-repository interaction

   The following example describes a typical communication session
   between the repository and a client.  The client is one of three be-
   longing to user "Fred".  Its name is "office-client", and since Fred
   uses the client regularly to access his mail, the client is marked as
   "active".  Fred has two mailboxes: "main" is where all of his current
   mail is stored; "archive" is where messages of lasting importance are
   kept.  The example will run through a simple synchronization opera-
   tion followed by a series of typical mail state manipulations.  Typi-
   cally, the synchronization will be performed by an application pro-
   gram that connects to the repository, logs in, synchronizes, and logs

   For the example, all DMSP operations will be shown in a user-readable
   format.  In reality, the operations would be sent as a stream of USP
   blocks consisting of a block-type number followed by a stream of
   bytes representing the block's components.

   In order to access his global mail state, the client software must
   authenticate Fred to the repository; this is done via the DMSP login

       login ["fred", "fred-password", "office-client", F, F]

   This tells the repository that Fred is logging in via "office-
   client", and that "office-client" is identified by an existing client
   object attached to Fred's user object.  The first component of the
   login block is Fred's repository user name.  The second component is
   Fred's password.  The third component is the name of the client com-
   municating with the repository.  The fourth component tells the repo-
   sitory not to create "office-client" even if it cannot find its
   client object.  The final component tells the repository that Fred's
   client is not operating in batch mode but rather in interactive mode.

   Fred's authentication checks out, so the repository logs him in, ack-
   nowledging the login request with an OK block.

   Now that Fred is logged in, the client performs an initial synchroni-
   zation.  This process starts with the client's asking for an up-to-
   date list of mailboxes:

       list-mailboxes []

        The repository replies with:

       mailbox-list [["main", 10, 1, 253],
                     ["archive", 100, 0, 101]]

   This tells the client that there are two mailboxes, "main" and "ar-
   chive".  "Main" has 10 messages, one of which is unseen.  The next

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

   incoming message will be assigned a UID of 253.  "Archive", on the
   other hand, has 100 message, none of which are unseen.  The next mes-
   sage sent to "archive" will be assigned the UID 101.  There are no
   new mailboxes in the list (if there were, the client program would
   create them.  On the other hand, if some mailboxes in the client's
   local list were not in the repository's list, the program would as-
   sume them deleted by another client and delete them locally as well).

   To synchronize the client need only look at each mailbox's contents
   to see if (1) any new mail has arrived, or (2) if Fred changed any
   messages on one of his other two clients subsequent to "office-
   client"'s last connection to the repository.

   The client asks for any changed descriptors via the "get-changed-
   descriptors" operation.  It requests at most ten changed descriptors
   since storage is very limited on "office-client".

       get-changed-descriptors ["main", 10]

        The repository responds with:

       descriptor-list [[descriptor[
                                [T T F F F F F F F F F F
                                 F F F F],
                                "Wed, 23 Jan 86 11:11 EST",
                                "tomorrow's meeting",
                                [F T F F F F F F F F F F
                                 F F F F],
                                "Fri, 25 Jan 86 11:11 EST",
                                "Monthly progress report",

   The first descriptor in the list is one which Fred deleted on another
   client yesterday.  "Office-client" marks the local version of the
   message as deleted.  The second descriptor in the list is a new one.
   "Office-client" adds the descriptor to its local list.  Since both
   changes have now been recorded locally, the descriptors can be reset:

       reset-descriptors ["main", 6, 10]

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

   The repository removes from "office-client"'s update list all mes-
   sages with UIDs between 6 and 10 (in this case just two messages)
   "Main" has now been synchronized.  The client now turns to Fred's
   "archive" mailbox and asks for the first ten changed descriptors.

       get-changed-descriptors ["archive", 10]

        The repository responds with

       descriptor-list []

   The zero-length list tells "office-client" that no descriptors have
   been changed in "archive" since its last synchronization.  No new
   synchronization needs to be performed.

   Fred's client is now ready to pull over the new message.  The message
   is 320 lines long; there might not be sufficient storage on "office-
   client" to hold the new message.  The client tries anyway:

       fetch-message-text ["main", 10]

        The repository begins transmitting the message:

       message ["From: Fred's-secretary",
                "To: Fred",
                "Subject: Monthly progress report",
                "Date: Fri, 25 Jan 86 11:11 EST",
                "Dear Fred,",
                "Here is this month's progress report",

   Halfway through the message transmission, "office-client" runs out of
   disk space.  Because all DMSP operations are defined to be failure-
   atomic, the portion of the message already transmitted is destroyed
   locally and the operation fails.  "Office-client" informs Fred that
   the message cannot be pulled over because of a lack of disk space.
   The synchronization process is now finished and Fred can start read-
   ing his mail.  The new message that was too big to fit on "office-
   client" will be marked "off line"; Fred can either remote-print it or
   delete other messages until he has enough space to store the new mes-

   Since he is running in interactive mode, changes he makes to any mes-
   sages will immediately be transmitted into DMSP operations and sent
   to the repository.  Depending on the client implementation, Fred will
   either have to execute a "synchronize" command periodically or the
   client will synchronize for him automatically every so often.

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

7. A current Pcmail implementation

   The following section briefly describes a current Pcmail system that
   services a small community of users.  The Pcmail repository runs
   under UNIX on a DEC VAX-750 connected to the Internet.  The clients
   run on IBM PCs, XTs, and ATs, as well as Sun workstations, Micro-
   vaxes, and VAX-750s.

7.1. IBM PC client code

   Client code for the IBM machines operates only in batch mode.  Users
   make local state changes, which are queued until the client connects
   to the repository.  At that time, the changes are performed and the
   local and global states synchronized.  The client then disconnects
   from the repository.

   Users access and modify their local mail state via a user interface
   program.  The program uses windows and a full-screen mode of opera-
   tion.  Users are given a variety of commands to operate on individual
   messages as well as mailboxes.  The interface allows use of any text
   editor to compose messages, and adds features of its own to make
   RFC-822-style header composition easier.

   Synchronization and the processing of queued changes is performed by
   a separate program, which the user runs whenever he wishes.  The pro-
   gram takes any actions queued while operating the user interface, and
   converts them into DMSP operations.  All queued changes are made be-
   fore any synchronization is performed.

   The limitation of IBM PC client operation to batch mode was made be-
   cause of development environment limitations.  The user interface
   could not work with the network code inside it due to program size
   limitations.  Since MS-DOS has no multi-processing facilities, the
   two programs could not run in tandem either.  The only solution was
   to provide a two-part client, one part of which read the mail and one
   part of which interacted with the repository.

7.2. UNIX client code

   Client code for the Suns, Microvaxes, and VAX-750s runs on 4.2/4.3BSD
   UNIX.  It is fully interactive, with a powerful user interface inside
   Richard Stallman's GNU-EMACS editor.  Since UNIX-based workstations
   have a good deal of main memory and disk storage, no effort was made
   to lower local mail state size by keeping message descriptors rather
   than message text.

   The local mail state consists of a number of BABYL-format mailboxes.
   The interface is very similar to the RMAIL mail reader already
   present in GNU-EMACS.

   The user interface communicates with the repository through a DMSP

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

   implementation built into the GNU-EMACS kernel.  Changes to the local
   mail state are immediately made on the repository; the repository is
   fast enough that there is little noticeable delay in performing the
   operation over the network.

   There is no provision for automatic synchronization whenever new mail
   arrives or old mail is changed by another client.  Instead, users
   must get any new mail explicitly.  A simple "notification" program
   runs in the background and wakes up every minute to check for new
   mail; when mail arrives, the user executes a command to get the new
   mail, synchronizing the mailbox at the same time.

7.3. Repository code

   The repository is implemented in C on 4.2/4.3BSD UNIX.  Currently it
   runs on DEC VAX-750s and Microvaxes, although other repositories will
   soon be running on IBM RT machines and Sun workstations.  The reposi-
   tory code is designed to allow several clients belonging to a partic-
   ular user to "concurrently" modify the user's state.  A mailbox lock-
   ing scheme prevents one client from modifying a mailbox while another
   client is modifying the same mailbox.

8. Conclusions

   Pcmail is now used by a small community of people at the MIT Labora-
   tory for Computer Science.  The repository design works well, provid-
   ing an efficient means of storing and maintaining mail state for
   several users.  Its performance is quite good when up to ten users
   are connected; it remains to be seen whether or not the repository
   will be efficient at managing the state of ten or a hundred times
   that many users.  Given sufficient disk storage, it should be able
   to, since communication between different users' clients and the re-
   pository is likely to be very asynchronous and likely to occur in
   short bursts with long "quiet intervals" in between as users are busy
   doing other things.

   Members of another research group at LCS are currently working on a
   replicated, scalable version of the repository designed to support a
   very large community of users with high availability.  This reposito-
   ry also uses DMSP and has successfully communicated with clients that
   use the current repository implementation.  DMSP therefore seems to
   be usable over several flavors of repository design.

   The IBM PC clients are unfortunately very limited in the way of
   resources, making local mail state manipulation difficult at times.
   Synchronization is also relatively time consuming due to the low per-
   formance of the PCs.  The "batch-mode" that the PCs use tends to be
   good for those PCs that spend a large percentage of their time un-
   plugged and away from a network.  It is somewhat inconvenient for
   those PCs that are always connected to a network and could make good
   use of an "interactive-mode" state manipulation.

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

   The UNIX-based clients are far easier to use than their PC counter-
   parts.  Synchronization is much faster, and there is far more func-
   tionality in the user interface (having an interface that runs within
   GNU-EMACS helps a lot in this respect).  Most of those people using
   the Pcmail system use the UNIX-based client code.


A. DMSP Protocol Specification

   Following are a list of DMSP operations by object type, their block
   types and arguments, and their expected acknowledgement block types.
   Each DMSP block has a different number; the first digit of each block
   type defines the object being manipulated: Operations numbered 5xx
   are general, operations numbered 6xx are user operations, operations
   numbered 7xx are client operations, operations numbered 8xx are mail-
   box operations, operations numbered 9xx are address operations,
   operations numbered 10xx are bboard operations, and operations num-
   bered 11xx are message operations.

   Failure blocks contain two fields, a "code" and a "why".  The "code"
   is an unsigned number placing the error in one of several broad
   categories (listed below).  The "why" is a text string, possibly ex-
   plaining the error in greater detail.

        Error codes:

        - 1: network error while reading or writing data

        - 2: internal repository error.  This can be due to lack
             of memory, a fatal bug, lack of disk space, etc.

        - 3: requested object already exists.  For example, you
             tried to create a mailbox that already exists

        - 4: requested object not found.  For example, you tried
             to delete a message or a mailbox that doesn't exist.

        - 5: protocol error.  Typically DMSP protocol version

        - 6: block argument error.  For example, a "set-message-flag"
             operation was attempted on a bboard by someone
             other than the bboard's owner.

        - 7: data read error.  The repository was unable to read
             the mail state information requested.

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

        - 8: data write error.  The repository was unable to
             write out changed mail state information, perhaps
             because the disk was full.

        - 9: operating system error:  Should be reserved for
             things like fork or pipe call errors.

        - 10: unexpected or unknown block type received.  For
              example, you sent a "delete-mailbox" block and received
              a "mailbox-list" block in response.

   Blocks marked "=>" flow from client to repository; blocks marked "<="
   flow from repository to client.  If more than one block can be sent,
   the choices are delimited by "or" ("|") characters.

   For clarity, each block type is put in a human-understandable form.
   The block number is followed by an operation name; this name is never
   transmitted as part of a USP block.  Block arguments are identified
   by name and type, and enclosed in square brackets.  "Record" data
   types are described by a list of "field-name:field-type" pairs con-
   tained in square brackets.  "Choice" data types are described by a
   list of "tag-name:tag-type" pairs contained in square brackets.  USP
   data types are defined as follows (the definitions are brief; refer
   to the USP specification for more detailed descriptions):

A.1. Primitive data types

   string (S): a series of bytes, null-byte padded to even length and
   preceded by a 16-bit length specifier.  Strings are sent in "net-
   ascii" format (newline sequence is carriage return followed by
   linefeed, single carriage returns to be followed by a null byte).

        - cardinal (C): a 16-bit unsigned number.

        - long-cardinal (LC): a 32-bit unsigned number.

        - integer (I): a 16-bit signed number.

        - long-integer (LI): a 32-bit signed number.

        - boolean (B): a 16-bit number with either a 1 or a 0 in the
          16th bit.

A.2. Compound data types

        - sequence (SEQ): A list of data items, all the same type and
          preceded by a 16-bit sequence length specifier.

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

        - array (AR): A fixed-length list of data items, all the same
          type.  A particular array's length is fixed by the application.

        - record (REC): A list of data items of any type.  A
          particular record's format is fixed by the application.

        - choice (CH): One of a list of possible data types.  The data
          type contained in the choice is identified by a 16-bit numeric
          tag.  The application interprets the data item based on the tag

A.3. DMSP Abstract Data Types

     Following are data types defined and used only by DMSP:

     - client: a record with the following format:
       REC[name:S, status:C] Status is either 1 (active) or 0

     - mailbox: a record with the following format:
       REC[name:S, next-uid:LC, #msgs:C, #new-msgs:C]

     - bboard: a record with the following format:
       REC[name:S, first-unread-message-UID:LC
       number-of-unseen-messages:C highest-UID:LC]

     - descriptor: a record with the following format:

     - REC[UID:LC, flags:SEQ[B], from, to, date, subject:S,
       #bytes:LC, #lines:LC]

     - desc-choice: a choice with the following format:
       CH[expunged-message-UID:LC, desc:descriptor] Descriptor
       tag number is 1.  Expunged-message tag number is 0.

A.4. General operations

     => 502 (send-version) [version:C]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 503 (send-message) [message:SEQ[S]]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

A.5. User operations

     => 600 (login) [name:S, password:S, client:S,
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S] |
        705 (force-client-reset) []

     => 601 (logout) []
     <= 500 (ok) []

     => 602 (set-password) [old:S, new:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

A.6. Client operations

     => 701 (list-clients) []
     <= 700 (client-list) [client-list:SEQ[client]]

     => 702 (create-client) [client:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 703 (delete-client) [client:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 704 (reset-client) [client:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

A.7. Mailbox operations

     => 801 (list-mailboxes) []
     <= 800 (mailbox-list) [mailbox-list:SEQ[mailbox]]

     => 802 (create-mailbox) [mailbox:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 803 (delete-mailbox) [mailbox:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

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RFC 993                                                    December 1986

     => 804 (reset-mailbox) [mailbox:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 805 (expunge-mailbox) [mailbox:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S

A.8. Address operations

     => 901 (list-addresses) [mailbox:S]
     <= 501 (failure) [code:C, why:S] |
        900 (address-list) [address-list:SEQ[S]]

     => 902 (create-address) [mailbox:S, address:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 903 (delete-address) [mailbox:S, address:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

A.9. Bboard operations

     => 1001 (list-bboards) []
     <= 1000 (bboard-list) [bboard-list:SEQ[bboard]]
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 1002 (create-bboard) [name:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 1003 (delete-bboard) [name:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 1004 (subscribe-bboard) [name:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 1005 (unsubscribe-bboard) [name:S]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

Clark & Lambert                                                [Page 25]

RFC 993                                                    December 1986

     => 1006 (set-bboard-first-unread) [name:S, UID:LC]
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 1007 (list-all-bboards) []
     <= 1008 (bboard-name-list) [bboard-name-list:SEQ[S]]
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

A.10. Message operations

     => 1102 (get-descriptors) [mailbox:S,
     <= 501 (failure) [code:C, why:S] |
        1100 (desc-list) [desc-list:SEQ[desc-choice]]

     => 1103 (get-changed-descriptors) [mailbox:S,
     <= 501 (failure) [code:C, why:S] |
        1100 (desc-list) [desc-list:SEQ[desc-choice]]

     => 1104 (reset-changed-descriptors) [
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 1105 (get-message-text) [mailbox:S,
     <= 501 (failure) [code:C, why:S] |
        1101 (message) [message:SEQ[S]]

     => 1106 (print-message) [mailbox:S,
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]

     => 1107 copy-message[source-mailbox:S,
     <= 501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]
     <= 501 (failure) [code:C, why:S] |
        1100 (desc-list) [desc-list:SEQ[desc-choice]]

Clark & Lambert                                                [Page 26]

RFC 993                                                    December 1986

     => 1108 (set-flag) [mailbox:S,
     <= 500 (ok) [] |
        501 (failure) [code:C, why:S]                               30

          DMSP block types by number

     General block types

     ok                      500
     failure                 501
     send-version            502
     send-message            503

     User operation block types

     login                   600
     logout                  601
     set-password            602

     Client operation block types

     client-list             700
     list-clients            701
     create-client           702
     delete-client           703
     reset-client            704
     force-client-reset      705

     Mailbox operation block types

     mailbox-list            800
     list-mailboxes          801
     create-mailbox          802
     delete-mailbox          803
     reset-mailbox           804
     expunge-mailbox         805

     Address operation block types

     address-list            900
     list-addresses          901
     create-address          902
     delete-address          903

Clark & Lambert                                                [Page 27]

RFC 993                                                    December 1986

     Bboard operation block types

     bboard-list             1000
     list-bboards            1001
     create-bboard           1002
     delete-bboard           1003
     subscribe-bboard        1004
     unsubscribe-bboard      1005
     set-bboard-first-unread 1006
     get-n-new-bboard-descriptors 1007
     list-all-bboards        1008
     bboard-name-list        1009

     Message operation block types

     descriptor-list         1100
     message                 1101
     get-descriptors         1102
     get-changed-descriptors 1103
     reset-changed-descriptors 1104
     get-message-text        1105
     print-message           1106
     copy-message            1107
     set-flag                1108

Clark & Lambert                                                [Page 28]