SMTP Service Extension for 8bit-MIMEtransport
RFC 1652

Document Type RFC - Draft Standard (July 1994; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 6152
Obsoletes RFC 1426
Authors Ned Freed  , John Klensin  , Marshall Rose  , Dave Crocker  , Einar Stefferud 
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                               J. Klensin, WG Chair
Request for Comments: 1652                                           MCI
Obsoletes: 1426                                         N. Freed, Editor
Category: Standards Track                                       Innosoft
                                                                 M. Rose
                                            Dover Beach Consulting, Inc.
                                                            E. Stefferud
                                     Network Management Associates, Inc.
                                                              D. Crocker
                                                  Silicon Graphics, Inc.
                                                               July 1994

             SMTP Service Extension for 8bit-MIMEtransport

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


   This memo defines an extension to the SMTP service whereby an SMTP
   content body consisting of text containing octets outside of the US-
   ASCII octet range (hex 00-7F) may be relayed using SMTP.

1.  Introduction

   Although SMTP is widely and robustly deployed, various extensions
   have been requested by parts of the Internet community. In
   particular, a significant portion of the Internet community wishes to
   exchange messages in which the content body consists of a MIME
   message [3] containing arbitrary octet-aligned material. This memo
   uses the mechanism described in [5] to define an extension to the
   SMTP service whereby such contents may be exchanged. Note that this
   extension does NOT eliminate the possibility of an SMTP server
   limiting line length; servers are free to implement this extension
   but nevertheless set a line length limit no lower than 1000 octets.
   Given that this restriction still applies, this extension does NOT
   provide a means for transferring unencoded binary via SMTP.

Klensin, Freed, Rose, Stefferud & Crocker                       [Page 1]
RFC 1652                SMTP 8bit-MIMEtransport                July 1994

2.  Framework for the 8bit MIME Transport Extension

   The 8bit MIME transport extension is laid out as follows:

      (1)  the name of the SMTP service extension defined here is

      (2)  the EHLO keyword value associated with the extension is

      (3)  no parameter is used with the 8BITMIME EHLO keyword;

      (4)  one optional parameter using the keyword BODY is added to
           the MAIL FROM command.  The value associated with this
           parameter is a keyword indicating whether a 7bit message
           (in strict compliance with [1]) or a MIME message (in
           strict compliance with [3]) with arbitrary octet content
           is being sent. The syntax of the value is as follows,
           using the ABNF notation of [2]:

                body-value ::= "7BIT" / "8BITMIME"

      (5)  no additional SMTP verbs are defined by this extension;

      (6)  the next section specifies how support for the extension
           affects the behavior of a server and client SMTP.

3.  The 8bit-MIMEtransport service extension

   When a client SMTP wishes to submit (using the MAIL command) a
   content body consisting of a MIME message containing arbitrary lines
   of octet-aligned material, it first issues the EHLO command to the
   server SMTP. If the server SMTP responds with code 250 to the EHLO
   command, and the response includes the EHLO keyword value 8BITMIME,
   then the server SMTP is indicating that it supports the extended MAIL
   command and will accept MIME messages containing arbitrary octet-
   aligned material.

   The extended MAIL command is issued by a client SMTP when it wishes
   to transmit a content body consisting of a MIME message containing
   arbitrary lines of octet-aligned material. The syntax for this
   command is identical to the MAIL command in [1], except that a BODY
   parameter must appear after the address.  Only one BODY parameter may
   be used in a single MAIL command.

Klensin, Freed, Rose, Stefferud & Crocker                       [Page 2]
RFC 1652                SMTP 8bit-MIMEtransport                July 1994

   The complete syntax of this extended command is defined in [5]. The
   esmtp-keyword is BODY and the syntax for esmtp-value is given by the
   syntax for body-value shown above.

   The value associated with the BODY parameter indicates whether the
   content body which will be passed using the DATA command consists of
   a MIME message containing some arbitrary octet-aligned material
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