[mailhist-discuss] The first email format "standard"?

Dave Crocker dcrocker at gmail.com
Fri Sep 7 08:40:40 PDT 2012



I'd like your thoughts on something that just came up...

I recently saw a reference to RFC 561[1] as a 'standard' and it gave me 
pause.  I hadn't thought it held that position, but that was my first 
year of working on the Arpanet.  RFC 680[2] is sometimes cited with that 
status. Not surprisingly, I had thought RFC 733[3] held the status as 
the first format standard.

After some discussion, I now have the impression that RFC 561 does 
qualify as the first email format standard.  It was a joint effort among 
colleagues at different organizations.  It sought to provide a common 
base for the email object.  It was implemented and deployed and used.

It specified basic mail object syntax, basic header syntax, and syntax 
for From, Date and Subject.  That's quite a lot, IMO.

That some quickly found it deficient and that that finding eventually 
led to RFC 733 does not seem, to me, to negate its relevance as a 
milestone in standardization.



[1] Standardizing Network Mail Headers

[2] Message Transmission Protocol

[3] Standard for the Format of ARPA Netowork Text Messages

  Dave Crocker

More information about the mailhist-discuss mailing list