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Re: rfc2821bis-03 Issue 32: "MUST take responsibility"

2007-04-26 09:17:09

John C Klensin wrote:
As part of the issue 16 cleanup (changing informal statements
about requirements to more formal, 2119-like, language), the
critical text about receiver responsibility for messages they
accepted was changed from 2821bis-03:

        The responsibility of an SMTP client is to transfer mail
        messages to one or more SMTP servers, or report its
        failure to do so.
In either case, a formal handoff of responsibility for
        the message occurs: the protocol requires that a server
        MUST accept responsibility for either delivering a
        message or properly reporting the failure to do so.

I see two issues with this text, suggesting the need for some added text. It's not that there is anything "wrong" with the proposed text, but that it is missing some detail, and certainly none of this would change SMTP semantics:

1. A server is not "always" required to accept responsibility. Rather, it is required to accept responsibility after issue a success response to some part of the protocol. Until it issues that response, it is NOT responsible for the message; the client is.

2. In other words, what is missing is reference to the state-change that carries the formal transfer of responsibility from client to server -- and it needs to be stated in terms of both client and server I assume that it is a 250 reply to DATA, but wouldn't stake my life on that.


  Dave Crocker
  Brandenburg InternetWorking