Standard for interchange of USENET messages
RFC 1036

Document Type RFC - Unknown (December 1987; Errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 5536, RFC 5537
Obsoletes RFC 850
Last updated 2020-01-21
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Network Working Group                                          M. Horton
Request for Comments:  1036                       AT&T Bell Laboratories
Obsoletes: RFC-850                                              R. Adams
                                              Center for Seismic Studies
                                                           December 1987

              Standard for Interchange of USENET Messages


    This document defines the standard format for the interchange of
    network News messages among USENET hosts.  It updates and replaces
    RFC-850, reflecting version B2.11 of the News program.  This memo is
    disributed as an RFC to make this information easily accessible to
    the Internet community.  It does not specify an Internet standard.
    Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

1.  Introduction

    This document defines the standard format for the interchange of
    network News messages among USENET hosts.  It describes the format
    for messages themselves and gives partial standards for transmission
    of news.  The news transmission is not entirely in order to give a
    good deal of flexibility to the hosts to choose transmission
    hardware and software, to batch news, and so on.

    There are five sections to this document.  Section two defines the
    format.  Section three defines the valid control messages.  Section
    four specifies some valid transmission methods.  Section five
    describes the overall news propagation algorithm.

2.  Message Format

    The primary consideration in choosing a message format is that it
    fit in with existing tools as well as possible.  Existing tools
    include implementations of both mail and news.  (The notesfiles
    system from the University of Illinois is considered a news
    implementation.)  A standard format for mail messages has existed
    for many years on the Internet, and this format meets most of the
    needs of USENET.  Since the Internet format is extensible,
    extensions to meet the additional needs of USENET are easily made
    within the Internet standard.  Therefore, the rule is adopted that
    all USENET news messages must be formatted as valid Internet mail
    messages, according to the Internet standard RFC-822.  The USENET
    News standard is more restrictive than the Internet standard,

Horton & Adams                                                  [Page 1]
RFC 1036              Standard for USENET Messages         December 1987

    placing additional requirements on each message and forbidding use
    of certain Internet features.  However, it should always be possible
    to use a tool expecting an Internet message to process a news
    message.  In any situation where this standard conflicts with the
    Internet standard, RFC-822 should be considered correct and this
    standard in error.

    Here is an example USENET message to illustrate the fields.

              From: jerry@eagle.ATT.COM (Jerry Schwarz)
              Path: cbosgd!mhuxj!mhuxt!eagle!jerry
              Newsgroups: news.announce
              Subject: Usenet Etiquette -- Please Read
              Message-ID: <642@eagle.ATT.COM>
              Date: Fri, 19 Nov 82 16:14:55 GMT
              Followup-To: news.misc
              Expires: Sat, 1 Jan 83 00:00:00 -0500
              Organization: AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill

              The body of the message comes here, after a blank line.

      Here is an example of a message in the old format (before the
      existence of this standard). It is recommended that
      implementations also accept messages in this format to ease upward

               From: cbosgd!mhuxj!mhuxt!eagle!jerry (Jerry Schwarz)
               Newsgroups: news.misc
               Title: Usenet Etiquette -- Please Read
               Article-I.D.: eagle.642
               Posted: Fri Nov 19 16:14:55 1982
               Received: Fri Nov 19 16:59:30 1982
               Expires: Mon Jan 1 00:00:00 1990

               The body of the message comes here, after a blank line.

      Some news systems transmit news in the A format, which looks like

                Fri Nov 19 16:14:55 1982
                Usenet Etiquette - Please Read
                The body of the message comes here, with no blank line.

    A standard USENET message consists of several header lines, followed
    by a blank line, followed by the body of the message.  Each header

Horton & Adams                                                  [Page 2]
RFC 1036              Standard for USENET Messages         December 1987

    line consist of a keyword, a colon, a blank, and some additional
    information.  This is a subset of the Internet standard, simplified
    to allow simpler software to handle it.  The "From" line may
    optionally include a full name, in the format above, or use the
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