mailaddr - mail addressing description
Mail addresses are based on the ARPANET protocol listed at the end of this manual page.
These addresses are in the general format
where a domain is a hierarchical dot separated list of subdomains. For example, the
is normally interpreted from right to left: the message should go to the ARPA name tables
(which do not correspond exactly to the physical ARPANET), then to the Berkeley gateway,
after which it should go to the local host monet. When the message reaches monet it is
delivered to the user ``eric''.
Unlike some other forms of addressing, this does not imply any routing. Thus, although
this address is specified as an ARPA address, it might travel by an alternate route if
that were more convenient or efficient. For example, at Berkeley, the associated message
would probably go directly to monet over the Ethernet rather than going via the Berkeley
Under certain circumstances it may not be necessary to type the entire domain name. In
general, anything following the first dot may be omitted if it is the same as the domain
from which you are sending the message. For example, a user on ``calder.berkeley.edu''
could send to ``eric@monet'' without adding the ``berkeley.edu'' since it is the same on
both sending and receiving hosts.
Certain other abbreviations may be permitted as special cases. For example, at Berkeley,
ARPANET hosts may be referenced without adding the ``berkeley.edu'' as long as their names
do not conflict with a local host name.
Certain old address formats are converted to the new format to provide compatibility with
the previous mail system. In particular,
is allowed and
is converted to
to be consistent with the rcp(1) command.
Also, the syntax
is converted to:
This is normally converted back to the ``host!user'' form before being sent on for compat-
ibility with older UUCP hosts.
The current implementation is not able to route messages automatically through the UUCP
network. Until that time you must explicitly tell the mail system which hosts to send
your message through to get to your final destination.
Domain names (i.e., anything after the ``@'' sign) may be given in any mixture of upper
and lower case with the exception of UUCP hostnames. Most hosts accept any combination of
case in user names, with the notable exception of MULTICS sites.
Under some circumstances it may be necessary to route a message through several hosts to
get it to the final destination. Normally this routing is done automatically, but some-
times it is desirable to route the message manually. Addresses which show these relays
are termed ``route-addrs.'' These use the syntax:
This specifies that the message should be sent to hosta, from there to hostb, and finally
to hostc. This path is forced even if there is a more efficient path to hostc.
Route-addrs occur frequently on return addresses, since these are generally augmented by
the software at each host. It is generally possible to ignore all but the ``user@domain''
part of the address to determine the actual sender.
Every site is required to have a user or user alias designated ``postmaster'' to which
problems with the mail system may be addressed.
Some other networks can be reached by giving the name of the network as the last component
of the domain. This is not a standard feature and may not be supported at all sites. For
example, messages to CSNET or BITNET sites can often be sent to ``user@host.CSNET'' or
The RFC822 group syntax (``group:user1,user2,user3;'') is not supported except in the spe-
cial case of ``group:;'' because of a conflict with old berknet-style addresses.
Route-Address syntax is grotty.
UUCP- and ARPANET-style addresses do not coexist politely.
mail(1), sendmail(8); Crocker, D. H., Standard for the Format of Arpa Internet Text Mes-
4.2 Berkeley Distribution July 27, 1987 MAILADDR(7)