Search the FAQ Archives

3 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z
faqs.org - Internet FAQ Archives

Client-server mail protocols FAQ


[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Business Photos and Profiles ]
Posted-By: auto-faq 3.1.1.2
Archive-name: mail/mailclient-faq

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
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/


--
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/

   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/

   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/

   For OpenVMS:

   There is a free OpenVMS POP3 server available in
   ftp://ftp.indiana.edu/pub/vms/.
   [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/

   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/

   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/
   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/

   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/

   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/

   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 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/

   POPMail II is another.
   ftp://archive.umich.edu/mac/util/comm/

   Macintosh Pegasus Mail supports POP.
   ftp://risc.ua.edu/put/network/

   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/

   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/.
   [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

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA


[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:
pauls@etext.org (Paul Southworth)





Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM