OK, one more question about sending email TO an old VAX

Peter Coghlan cctalk at beyondthepale.ie
Wed Feb 24 04:16:56 CST 2016

> > How does one send mail INBOUND to this kind of VAX mail from a modern email
> > like gmail?  Is it possible to format the header somehow to get the message
> > through?  You can't simply send a message to
> > 
> > system at microvax3100.vintagecomputer.net
> > 
> > how would I format the email address?  I could write a PHP program to
> > format the header "wrong" for normal purposes but "right" for the VAX
> > inbound I suppose.  Any tips that don't involve creating a gateway nor
> > changing the target VAX itself?
> I don't remember the details of what email addresses looked like in the days
> when DEC was first connected to the Internet (or ARPAnet).  There was a
> bunch of magic at the WRL gateway (gatekeeper.dec.com -- also one of the
> first firewalls).  A lot of this can be done by suitable magic in
> sendmail.cf.  At some later time I believe that the mapping from SMTP
> addresses to DECmail addresses was pretty much transparent, so you could
> indeed send that simple address  you mentioned.  Earlier on it was something
> like "ark::[1,211]"@decwrl.dec.com or perhaps kremvax!decwrl!ark!1,211 ...

Multinet implements an SMTP server as per RFC821.  This delivers mail directly
into VMS MAIL mailboxes using the foreign mail protocol provided in the
VMS MAIL API.  There is no mapping between different address formats required.
The Multinet SMTP server is not as capable as a proper mail server like PMDF
but it should be possible to get it to interoperate correctly with any other
properly implemented SMTP mail server without requiring extra gateways or
header mangling.

system at microvax3100.vintagecomputer.net should be an acceptable email address
to the Multinet SMTP server if it is correctly configured to accept mail for the
microvax3100.vintagecomputer.net domain and the sending mail server knows how
to route mail for it.

In the early days, DEC probably needed some sort of special mapping because
they were likely already using DECnet style email addresses internally when
their connection to the internet came along.  Two different email networks
with two different addressing formats were being brought together.  This is
not the case here.  Only SMTP format addresses are being used.

Peter Coghlan.

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