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Email System Model

2009-05-17 13:36:06

Hector Santos wrote:
In my view, you have an over simplification and Crocker's doc is attempt to model a more complex integrated world. Its one view abeit one that attempts to prescribe a model based on STDs and RFCs. I think it could of been done in a more readable fashion, like a Requirements/Optional Grid to start work ala RFC 1153

Standard textbook models are much simpler than what I am proposing. The most popular book (Peterson & Davie, 4th ed.) has just a sequence of "gateways", and no good explanation as to why so many are needed. The two reasons given are 1) The recipient does not want to disclose the actual host on which he reads his email, and 2) The recipient's machine may not always be running, and a "gateway" can hold the message until it is ready to be delivered.

What I'm looking for is a model that is almost as simple, but a better foundation to understanding real systems. We have maybe half a week in a 3-unit class on Computer Networks, so we clearly can't cover all the details in email-arch.

I do think, in my opinion, your first illustration is pretty fundamental and much easier to understand, grasp without reading the context. IMO, Dave's doc is too overwhelming for MOST people to read - totally only useful for highly IETF trained geeks.

My primary goal is optimizing the model for students. A secondary goal is conformity with standards. There is always a tradeoff. If we simplify too much, students will not learn how real systems work. If we add too much detail, or use jargon instead of plain English, students will learn less of the fundamentals that are needed long after passing a test.

I'm looking for constructive criticism. If you believe the model is oversimplified, give me an example of an important system that the model should cover. If you think you can improve on the terminology, give me some specific alternatives.

The model is still work-in-progress, but the most complete description is at

Best Regards,

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* David MacQuigg, PhD    email: macquigg at   *  *
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