MAILADDR(7) BSD Miscellaneous Information Manual MAILADDR(7)
mailaddr -- mail addressing description
Mail addresses are based on the Internet 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, a valid address is:
Unlike some other forms of addressing, domains do not imply any routing. Thus, although this address is specified as an Internet address, it
might travel by an alternate route if that were more convenient or efficient. For example, at Berkeley, the associated message would proba-
bly go directly to CS over the Ethernet rather than going via the Berkeley Internet gateway.
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@CS'' without adding the ``berkeley.edu'' since it is the same on both sending and receiving hosts.
Certain old address formats are converted to the new format to provide compatibility with the previous mail system. In particular,
is converted to
is converted to
This is normally converted back to the ``host!user'' form before being sent on for compatibility with older UUCP hosts.
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 sometimes 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@hostc'' part of the address to determine the actual sender.
[Note: the route-addr syntax is officially deprecated in RFC 1123 and should not be used.]
Many sites also support the ``percent hack'' for simplistic routing:
is routed as indicated in the previous example.
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
Crocker, D. H., Standard for the Format of Arpa Internet Text Messages, RFC822.
Mailaddr appeared in 4.2BSD.
The RFC822 group syntax (``group:user1,user2,user3;'') is not supported except in the special case of ``group:;'' because of a conflict with
old berknet-style addresses.
Route-Address syntax is grotty.
UUCP- and Internet-style addresses do not coexist politely.
June 16, 1993 BSD