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Church Of The
Swimming Elephant

4.5.2. TRANSPARENCY Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia

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Without some provision for data transparency the character sequence "<CRLF>.<CRLF>" ends the mail text and cannot be sent by the user. In general, users are not aware of such "forbidden" sequences. To allow all user composed text to be transmitted transparently the following procedures are used.

  1. Before sending a line of mail text the sender-SMTP checks the first character of the line. If it is a period, one additional period is inserted at the beginning of the line.

  2. When a line of mail text is received by the receiver-SMTP it checks the line. If the line is composed of a single period it is the end of mail. If the first character is a period and there are other characters on the line, the first character is deleted.

The mail data may contain any of the 128 ASCII characters. All characters are to be delivered to the recipient's mailbox including format effectors and other control characters. If the transmission channel provides an 8-bit byte (octets) data stream, the 7-bit ASCII codes are transmitted right justified in the octets with the high order bits cleared to zero.

In some systems it may be necessary to transform the data as it is received and stored. This may be necessary for hosts that use a different character set than ASCII as their local character set, or that store data in records rather than strings. If such transforms are necessary, they must be reversible -- especially if such transforms are applied to mail being relayed.

Next: 4.5.3. SIZES

Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia


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