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Subject: Client-server mail protocols FAQ

This article was archived around: 30 Jul 1997 00:26:30 GMT

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Mini FAQ on client-server mail protocols ---------------------------------------- $Id: mailclientfaq.1,v 1.38 1997/01/23 17:11:58 pauls Exp pauls $ This is a mini FAQ covering client-server mail protocols, available software packages (commercial, shareware, freeware and sourceware), and pointers to sources and FAQs. Send email with any suggested additions, or if you'd like to have your product or package listed. This FAQ can be found on the web at: http://www.etext.org/~pauls/mailclientfaq.txt Or via anonymous ftp at: ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet-by-hierarchy/comp/answers/mail/mailclient-faq -- Paul Southworth http://www.cic.net/~pauls pauls@cic.net A. Servers 1. Where can I get a POP server? 2. Where can I get a IMAP server? 3. What's the difference between POP and IMAP? 4. What are the relevant RFCs for POP and IMAP? B. Clients 1. Where can I get a POP client? 2. Where can I get a IMAP client? A Servers 1. Where can I get a POP server? For Unix: The "qpop" distribution is a direct descendent of the UCB "popper" and should be used instead of the UCB popper package since popper hasn't been maintained in 2+ years. qpop supports many platforms and also supports Kerberos IV. It is maintained by Qualcomm, makers of the popular Eudora POP client. Free product. ftp://ftp.qualcomm.com/quest/unix/servers/popper The IMAP distribution contains the ipop2d and ipop3d servers (in addition to imapd) which are POP2 and POP3 respectively. The IMAP distribution has also been ported to many platforms. ftp://ftp.cac.washington.edu/imap/imap.tar.Z Post.Office is a commercial SMTP/POP3 server distributed by Netmanage. Administration of the server is conducted via web forms or commands sent via e-mail. Unix version supports SunOS 4.x and Solaris 2.x. NT version also available. http://www.netmanage.com/products/zcentral Z-POP is a free server distributed by Netmanage. It is fully POP-3 compliant, and also has several extra hooks built in for use with Z-Mail. These include IMAP - like mailbox synch, as well as client configuration and preferences uploading and downloading. ftp://ftp.netmanage.com/pub/z-stuff/z-code/supported/z-pop BlitzMail is Dartmouth College's freeware client-server Internet e-mail system (supports POP3 and POP password changing protocol). More information about BlitzMail can be found at: http://www.dartmouth.edu/pages/softdev/blitz.html ftp://ftp.dartmouth.edu/pub/mac/BlitzMail/Export Pop3d is a POP server produced by Katie Stevens at the University of California, Davis. It has apparently not been maintained in some time, and has not been widely ported. Notes indicate that it was coded based on RFC1225, which has been obsoleted by RFC1460 and RFC1725 since pop3d was released. ftp://ftp.ucdavis.edu/unix-public/pop3d.tar For OpenVMS: There is a free OpenVMS POP3 server available in ftp://ftp.indiana.edu/pub/vms/iupop3. [Thanks to "Mark H. Wood" <MWOOD@INDYVAX.IUPUI.EDU>] For Macintosh: MailShare runs on the Macintosh, and supports SMTP and POP services. For information: http://www.winternet.com/~carl/mailshare/mailshare.html To download: ftp://ftp.winternet.com/users/carl For Windows95: Seattle Labs' SLmail95 is a Windows95 POP3/SMTP server. Win32 native. Commercial and freeware versions are available. Company also distributes a C64 emulator, but unfortunately no POP server for the C64. :( http://www.seattlelab.com For Windows NT: Net Shopper offers NTMAIL which supports SMTP and POP. For information: http://www.net-shopper.co.uk/software/mail.htm Seattle Labs' SLmailNT is a Windows NT POP3/SMTP server. 32-bit and runs as an NT service. Commercial product. http://www.seattlelab.com EMWAC Internet Mail Services (IMS) for Windows NT supports SMTP and POP. This package is freeware. http://www.emwac.ed.ac.uk/html/internet_toolchest/ims/ims.htm Post.Office is a commercial SMTP/POP3 server distributed by Netmanage. Administration of the server is conducted via web forms or commands sent via e-mail. Unix version also available. http://www.netmanage.com/products/zcentral For Netware: Mercury Mail supports SMTP and POP3 running on a Novell Netware server. ftp://risc.ua.edu/pub/network/pegasus/merc121.zip 2. Where can I get a IMAP server? For Unix: The Washington IMAP distribution is the most widely used IMAP server. Widely ported and easy to install. Includes POP2 and POP3 servers as well. ftp://ftp.cac.washington.edu/imap/imap.tar.Z The Cyrus IMAP server differs from other IMAP server implementations in that it is generally intended to be run on "sealed" servers, where normal users are not permitted to log in. The mailbox database is stored in parts of the filesystem that are private to the Cyrus IMAP system. All user access to mail is through the IMAP, POP3, or KPOP protocols. For information, http://andrew2.andrew.cmu.edu/cyrus/cyrus ftp://ftp.andrew.cmu.edu/pub/cyrus-mail For OpenVMS: Innosoft International, Inc. includes POP2, POP3, and IMAP2 servers in their PMDF email package, which runs on OpenVMS. [Thanks to: "Mark H. Wood" <MWOOD@INDYVAX.IUPUI.EDU>] 3. What's the difference between POP and IMAP? Terry Gray's "imap.vs.pop" document in the IMAP distribution describes this in detail. Stealing from that document: With POP (Post Office Protocol), mail is delivered to a shared server, and a personal computer user periodically connects to the server and downloads all of the pending mail to the "client" machine. Thereafter, all mail processing is local to the client machine. Think of POP as providing a store-and-forward service, intended to move mail (on demand) from an intermediate server (drop point) to a single destination machine, usually a PC or Mac. Once delivered to the PC or Mac, the messages are typically deleted from the POP server. IMAP is a client-server mail protocol designed to permit manipulation of remote mailboxes as if they were local. With IMAP, mail is again delivered to a shared server, but the mail client machine does not normally copy it all at once and then delete it from the server. It's more of a client-server model, where the IMAP client can ask the server for headers, or the bodies of specified messages, or to search for messages meeting certain criteria. Messages in the mail repository can be marked as deleted and subsequently expunged, but they stay on the repository until the user takes such action. Need more? Go read the document yourself. It's stored on ftp://ftp.cac.washington.edu/mail/imap.vs.pop 4. What are the relevant RFCs for POP and IMAP? ftp://ftp.uu.net/inet/rfc For POP3: RFC1734 Myers, J. POP3 AUTHentication command. 1994 December; 5 p. (Format: TXT=8499 bytes) RFC1725 Myers, J.; Rose, M. Post Office Protocol - Version 3. 1994 November; 18 p. (Format: TXT=35058 bytes) (Obsoletes RFC1460) RFC1082 Rose, M. Post Office Protocol: Version 3: Extended service offerings. 1988 November; 11 p. (Format: TXT=25423 bytes) For IMAP: RFC1733 Crispin, M. DISTRIBUTED ELECTRONIC MAIL MODELS IN IMAP4. 1994 December; 3 p. (Format: TXT=6205 bytes) RFC1732 Crispin, M. IMAP4 COMPATIBILITY WITH IMAP2 AND IMAP2BIS. 1994 December; 5 p. (Format: TXT=9276 bytes) RFC1731 Myers, J. IMAP4 Authentication Mechanisms. 1994 December; 6 p. (Format: TXT=11433 bytes) RFC1730 Crispin, M. INTERNET MESSAGE ACCESS PROTOCOL - VERSION 4. 1994 December; 73 p. (Format: TXT=156660 bytes) RFC1203 Rice, J. Interactive Mail Access Protocol: Version 3. 1991 February; 49 p. (Format: TXT=123325 bytes) (Obsoletes RFC1064) RFC1176 Crispin, M. Interactive Mail Access Protocol: Version 2. 1990 August; 30 p. (Format: TXT=67330 bytes) (Obsoletes RFC1064) 5. Where can I find more about available IMAP software? ftp://ftp.cac.washington.edu/mail/imap.software or http://andrew2.andrew.cmu.edu/cyrus B. Clients 1. Where can I get a POP client? For Unix: The Rand Mail Handler supports POP. ftp://ftp.ics.uci.edu/pub/mh POP3 support has been added to mailx. ftp://ftp.cic.net/pub/Software/unix/mail/popmail.shar.gz Mutt is a full-screen (curses) mail user agent for Unix. Source distribution is available under the GNU Public License. POP3 is supported. Michael Elkins, mutt's author/maintainer, gives the following recommendation: "All mail clients suck. This one just sucks less." Manual pages and HTML documentation are included. ftp://cs.hmc.edu/pub/me/mutt Fetchmail is a simple POP mail retrieval client for U*ix. It supports the POP2 and POP3 protocols, and compiles/runs under a fairly wide variety of systems. Eric S. Raymond <esr@thyrsus.com> is the current maintainer. Fetchmail supercedes the older "popclient" utility which has been discontinued. ftp://ftp.ccil.org/pub/esr http://www.ccil.org/~esr/fetchmail gwpop is a perl-based mail downloader. Used in conjunction with procmail, gwpop can fetch mail from a mail hub via POP and deliver it locally to user mailboxes. Includes some security features not found in other POP clients. Supports but does not require perl v5. ftp://ftp.pasteur.fr/pub/computing/unix/network/gwpop fetchpop is a POP mail downloader which can run as a daemon, downloading mail from a POP server at user-defined intervals and handing it to either procmail or sendmail. Written in C. Latest version as of this writing is 1.9. Author is seung-hong oh <oh@cis.ohio-state.edu>. ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/system/Mail/pop popc is a simple perl-based mail downloader which can be used to fetch a mailbox from a POP server and distribute the messages to multiple users. ftp://ftp.imag.fr/pub/Linux/net Z-Mail for Unix is a commercial POP3 client, and IMAP support is planned for future releases. Motif and terminal-based versions available. Binary releases for many Unix platforms are available. http://www.netmanage.com/products/zmail Pine supports POP3 although it's not really recommended by the authors. Make your inbox-path= line in the .pinerc look like this: inbox-path={your.mail.host/110}inbox See below under the IMAP client section for information about Pine. XF-Mail is an X11 mail reader based on the XForms toolkit. It supports POP, and keeps mail in mh-style folders. Free alpha releases are available now. Lengthy "TODO" list before full release comes out... http://www.netvision.net.il/xfmail/xfmail.html The Netscape Navigator web client includes a POP3 client. Commercial software. Some people might be able to use it for free. http://www.netscape.com/comprod/mirror/client_download.html For Emacs: The "vm" elisp package supports POP for emacs (versions 18 and 19 are supported). ftp://ftp.uu.net/networking/mail/vm For MSDOS: Pegasus Mail supports POP. ftp://risc.ua.edu/pub/network/pegasus Minuet is the successor of UMinn "popmail". It supports POP (as well as gopher, NNTP, and ftp protocols). ftp://boombox.micro.umn.edu/pub/pc/minuet NuPOP is an MSDOS POP client offering both real and protected-mode versions. Includes built-in dialup functionality, or can interface with packet drivers or a handful of other TCP/IP stacks. From Northwestern University. ftp://ftp.acns.nwu.edu/pub/nupop For Windows: Eudora works under Windows and Windows NT. Both free and commercial versions are available. http://www.eudora.com ftp://ftp.qualcomm.com/quest/eudora/windows Windows Pegasus Mail supports POP. Very popular client with attractive licensing terms. ftp://risc.ua.edu/pub/network/pegasus Z-Mail Pro for Windows is a commercial POP3 client, distributed by Netmanage, which supports Windows95 and NT. http://www.netmanage.com/products/zmailpro Microsoft Internet Mail & News is a POP3 client add-on for Microsoft Internet Explorer. Free software. http://www.microsoft.com/ie/download/ieadd.htm The Netscape Navigator web client includes a POP3 client. Commercial software. Some people might be able to use it for free. http://www.netscape.com/comprod/mirror/client_download.html For Macintosh: Eudora works on the Mac (PPC versions too). Both free and commercial versions are available. http://www.eudora.com ftp://ftp.qualcomm.com/quest/eudora/mac POPMail II is another. ftp://archive.umich.edu/mac/util/comm/popmail2.2.sit.hqx Macintosh Pegasus Mail supports POP. ftp://risc.ua.edu/put/network/pegasus Z-Mail for Macintosh is a POP3 client, distributed by Netmanage, which supports MacOS 7.x and higher. http://www.netmanage.com/products/zmail Microsoft Internet Mail & News is a POP3 client add-on for Microsoft Internet Explorer. Free software. http://www.microsoft.com/ie/download/ieadd.htm The Netscape Navigator web client includes a POP3 client. Commercial software. Some people might be able to use it for free. http://www.netscape.com/comprod/mirror/client_download.html 2. Where can I get an IMAP client? For Unix: The popular "pine" mail package is probably the most widely used. ftp://ftp.cac.washington.edu/pine/pine.tar.Z ML is a Motif IMAP mail client. It provides advanced mail processing features as well as being easy to use for "the masses". Source is available, as are binaries for SunOS, Solaris, Linux, and IRIX. http://www-camis.stanford.edu/projects/imap/ml ftp://camis.stanford.edu/pub/ml/ml.tar.Z Simeon (formerly ECS Mail) is a commercial Motif IMAP client. Full-featured demo versions are available on the ESYS web site. Currently supported Unix platforms are Solaris, SunOS, IRIX, AIX, Digital Unix, and HP/UX. http://www.esys.ca For MSDOS: Pine works on MSDOS too. ftp://ftp.cac.washington.edu/pine/pcpine The PCPINE versions go like this (from the README) There are five versions of PC-Pine: o DOS: FTP Inc's PC-TCP file name: pcpine_f.zip o DOS: Novell's LAN Workplace for DOS file name: pcpine_n.zip o DOS: Sun's PC-NFS file name: pcpine_s.zip o DOS: WATTCP/Packet Driver file name: pcpine_p.zip For Windows: Pine works on Windows too. Uses Winsock API, but does not have a "real" Windows interface. ftp://ftp.cac.washington.edu/pine/pcpine/pcpine_w.zip Simeon (formerly ECS Mail) is a commercial Windows-based IMAP client. Full-featured demo versions are available on the ESYS web site. Both 16-bit (Windows 3.1) and 32-bit (95 and NT) versions are available. http://www.esys.ca For Macintosh: POPMail II supports IMAP2. See above under Mac POP clients. Mailstrom is a Mac IMAP client. Seems to like to crash a lot on some systems. Supposedly on info-mac, but good luck getting logged in. Washington has a copy, although this is not the official site: ftp://ftp.cac.washington.edu/imap/mac Mail Drop is a Macintosh IMAP client written by Carl Bell of Baylor University, available at: ftp://ackmo.baylor.edu/pub/bell/Mail_Drop/Mail_Drop.hqx. [Thanks to Brian Forney <bforney@umich.edu>] Simeon (formerly ECS Mail) is a commercial Macintosh IMAP client. Full-featured demo versions are available on the ESYS web site. http://www.esys.ca For Acorn RISCOS: The ANT Internet Suite includes the "Marcel" mail & news package which supports POP2, POP3, IMAP, SMTP and NNTP for mail/news transports, and file attachments can be sent and received in MIME, UUencode, !EMail and BtoA formats. Commercial software. http://www.ant.co.uk