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Re: The concepts of email address and mailbox

2004-12-21 10:37:23

On Sun December 19 2004 06:27, Jochen Topf wrote:


Reading Dave Crocker's draft-crocker-email-arch-01 I started to think again
about the identification and differences between "email addresses" and
"mailboxes". In the draft, as in many other documents, both concepts are
essentially one, the email address is a "mailbox address".

The essential difference between "address" and "mailbox" is
that an "address" can be either a "mailbox" or a named group.
RFC 822:

     6.1.  SYNTAX

     address     =  mailbox                      ; one addressee
                 /  group                        ; named list

     group       =  phrase ":" [#mailbox] ";"

     mailbox     =  addr-spec                    ; simple address
                 /  phrase route-addr            ; name & addr-spec

RFC 2822:

address         =       mailbox / group

mailbox         =       name-addr / addr-spec

name-addr       =       [display-name] angle-addr

angle-addr      =       [CFWS] "<" addr-spec ">" [CFWS] / obs-angle-addr

group           =       display-name ":" [mailbox-list / CFWS] ";"

Historically email is send to a mailbox

Or as stated in both 822 and 2822 "A mailbox receives mail".

[...] There is a one-to-one relationship between 
addresses and the mailboxes.

No! An address may contain many mailboxes.

Mailboxes were usually associated with 
operating system users

Not necessarily. 822/2822 discussion of mailbox continues
with: "It is a  conceptual  entity  which does not necessarily
pertain to file storage.  For example, some sites may choose to
print mail on their line printer and  deliver the output to the
addressee's desk."  That text also appeared in RFCs 733 and 724.

, so the local_part is really the username. So 
far so good.

No, you've gone wrong w.r.t. "address" vs. "mailbox", and
in associating "mailbox" with "operating system user". After
that, things get more confused. Please don't try to redefine
standard terms that have been in use for more than a quarter

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