Internet email is a complex subject with many aspects. There are important principles that apply when administering an email system regardless of the MTA you are working with. This section presents a few concepts that will help in understanding later explanations in the book, but you are urged to learn as much about Internet email as possible from the many resources available in books and online.
RFCs, or Request for Comments documents, define the standards for the Internet. There are several RFCs relating to Internet email, all of which are relevant to you if you are administering an email system on the Internet. The two most commonly referenced RFCs for email are RFC 821 and RFC 822, which deal with how email messages are transferred between systems, and how email messages should appear. These documents were put into effect more than 20 years ago. They were updated in April 2001 with the proposed standards RFC 2821 and RFC 2822, although you will still see many references to the original documents. RFC documents are maintained by the Internet Engineering Task Force, whose site is available at http://www.ietf.org/.
Table 2-1. Email agents
Mail User Agent
Email client software used to compose, send, and retrieve email messages. Sends messages through an MTA. Retrieves messages ...