The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, September 17, 2001

Funny, but only if you know RFC-822

I'm trying to reach some people at a particular ISP, and since I haven't heard from them in some time, sent email to noc@XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, postmaster@XXXXXXXXXXXXXX and root@XXXXXXXXXXXXXX just to make sure that maybe, just maybe, someone there would notice.

I just got this back:


   ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
postmaster@XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

   ----- Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to mail.XXXXXXXXXXXXXX.:
>>> RCPT To:<postmaster@XXXXXXXXXXXXXX>
<<< 550 <postmaster@XXXXXXXXXXXXXX>... User unknown
550 postmaster@XXXXXXXXXXXXXX... User unknown

Um … RFC-822 has this to say about postmaster:


     6.3.  RESERVED ADDRESS

          It often is necessary to send mail to a site, without  know-
     ing  any  of its valid addresses.  For example, there may be mail
     system dysfunctions, or a user may wish to find  out  a  person's
     correct address, at that site.

          This standard specifies a single, reserved  mailbox  address
     (local-part)  which  is  to  be valid at each site.  Mail sent to
     that address is to be routed to  a  person  responsible  for  the
     site's mail system or to a person with responsibility for general
     site operation.  The name of the reserved local-part address is:

                                Postmaster

     so that "Postmaster@domain" is required to be valid.

     Note:  This reserved local-part must be  matched  without  sensi-
            tivity to alphabetic case, so that "POSTMASTER", "postmas-
            ter", and even "poStmASteR" is to be accepted.


§6.3 of RFC-822

It's a requirement that postamster exist as a valid email address for any domain accepting email. So the ISP in question is violating an RFC. Tsk tsk tsk.

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