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Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 RFC 5536

Usenet Format Working Group                                   C. Lindsey
Internet-Draft                                  University of Manchester
Updates: 2822 (if approved)                                      D. Kohn
Obsoletes: 1036 (if approved)                           Skymoon Ventures
Expires: January 9, 2005                                    K. Murchison
                                                      Oceana Matrix Ltd.
                                                           July 11, 2004


                          News Article Format
                    draft-ietf-usefor-usefor-00.txt

Status of this Memo

   By submitting this Internet-Draft, I certify that any applicable
   patent or other IPR claims of which I am aware have been disclosed,
   and any of which I become aware will be disclosed, in accordance with
   RFC 3668.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups.  Note that
   other groups may also distribute working documents as
   Internet-Drafts.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at
   http://www.ietf.org/ietf/1id-abstracts.txt.

   The list of Internet-Draft Shadow Directories can be accessed at
   http://www.ietf.org/shadow.html.

   This Internet-Draft will expire on January 9, 2005.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   This document defines the format of network news articles.

   Network news articles resemble mail messages but are broadcast to
   potentially large audiences, using a flooding algorithm that
   propagates one copy to each interested host (or group thereof),
   typically stores only one copy per host, and does not require any



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   central administration or systematic registration of interested
   users.  Network news originated as the medium of communication for
   Usenet, circa 1980.  Since then Usenet has grown explosively, and
   many Internet sites participate in it.  In addition, the news
   technology is now in widespread use for other purposes, on the
   Internet and elsewhere.

   This document defines the format of network news articles in the
   context of the Internet Message Format, and adds Multipurpose
   Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) support for multimedia and
   internationalized message bodies.

Changes since draft-kohn-news-article-03

   o  Document is now a work product of USEFOR
   o  Added new co-authors
   o  Added some definitions from draft-ietf-usefor-article-13
   o  Removed text that belongs in [usepro]
   o  Reorganized header sections
   o  Added Archive and User-Agent headers
   o  Compatibility changes based on comments from Charles

Issues to be addressed

   o  More detailed discussion of Control header verbs
   o  Discussion of 78 character limit in headers
   o  Discussion of required space after ':' in headers
   o  Review Message-ID limitations
   o  Further discussion of newsgroup name character limits
   o  Investigate using MIME parameters for Archive header
   o  Should we use the User-Agent specification from HTTP?
   o  Review of ABNF



















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Table of Contents

   1.   Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     1.1  Scope  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     1.2  Requirements Notation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     1.3  Errata . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     1.4  Syntax Notation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     1.5  Definitions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     1.6  Structure of This Document . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   2.   Format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     2.1  Base . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     2.2  MIME Conformance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     2.3  Additional MIME Support  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   3.   Internet Message Format Headers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.1  Mandatory Headers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.2  Optional Headers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.3  Date . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.4  Message-ID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     3.5  News Headers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       3.5.1  Newsgroups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       3.5.2  Path . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       3.5.3  Followup-To  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       3.5.4  Expires  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       3.5.5  Control  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
       3.5.6  Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       3.5.7  Summary  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       3.5.8  Approved . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       3.5.9  Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       3.5.10   Xref . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
       3.5.11   Supersedes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       3.5.12   Archive  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       3.5.13   User-Agent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   4.   Internationalization Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
   5.   Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   6.   References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
   6.1  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
   6.2  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
        Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   A.   Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
        Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements . . . . . . .  20











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1.  Introduction

1.1  Scope

   "Netnews" is a set of protocols for generating, storing and
   retrieving news "articles" (a subset of the Internet Message Format)
   and for exchanging them among a readership which is potentially
   widely distributed.  It is organized around "newsgroups", with the
   expectation that each reader will be able to see all articles posted
   to each newsgroup in which she participates.  These protocols most
   commonly use a flooding algorithm which propagates copies throughout
   a network of participating servers.  Typically, only one copy is
   stored per server, and each server makes it available on demand to
   readers able to access that server.

   This is the first of four documents that obsolete RFC 1036.  This
   document focuses on the syntax and semantics of network news
   articles.  [usepro] is also a standards-track document, and describes
   the protocol issues of network news articles, independent of
   transmission protocols such as NNTP [RFC0977] and IMAP [RFC3501].  An
   informational document, [useage], describes implementation
   recommendations to improve interoperability and usability.  The
   fourth document, [useint], an experimental standard, specifies
   internationalization of message headers.

   The predecessor to this document [RFC1036] said that: "In any
   situation where this standard conflicts with the Internet [email
   standard, the latter] should be considered correct and this standard
   in error."  The basic philosophy of this document follows that
   previous convention, so as to standardize news article syntax firmly
   as a subset of the Internet Message Format syntax.  Note that this
   means that all news articles are suitable for email, but the converse
   isn't necessarily true.

   In the context of the Internet messaging architecture, different
   protocols (such as IMAP, POP3 [RFC1939], NNTP and SMTP [RFC2821]) are
   seen as alternative ways of moving around the same content.  That
   content is the Internet Message Format as specified by [RFC2822],
   including optional enhancements such as MIME [RFC2049].  A user
   should be able to ingest an article via NNTP, read it via IMAP,
   forward it off to someone else via SMTP and have them read it via
   POP3 all without having to alter the content.

   This document uses a cite by reference methodology, rather than
   trying to repeat the contents of other standards, which could
   otherwise result in subtle differences and interoperability
   challenges.  Although this document is as a result rather short, it
   requires complete understanding and implementation of the normative



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   references to be compliant.

1.2  Requirements Notation

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

1.3  Errata

   The RFC Editor makes available errata for RFCs at [errata].
   Implementers should review that page for normative references, noting
   in particular that errata currently exist for [RFC2046] and
   [RFC2231].

1.4  Syntax Notation

   Headers defined in this specification use the Augmented Backus-Naur
   Form (ABNF) notation (including the Core Rules) specified in
   [RFC2234] and many constructs (specifically <date-time>,
   <mailbox-list>, <obs-zone>, and <unstructured>) defined in [RFC2822].
   Section 3.4 updates the [RFC2822] definition of <msg-id>.

1.5  Definitions

   An "article" is the unit of news, analogous to an [RFC 2822]
   "message".  A "proto-article" is one that has not yet been injected
   into the news system.

   A "newsgroup" is a single news forum, a logical bulletin board,
   having a name and nominally intended for articles on a specific
   topic.  An article is "posted to" a single newsgroup or several
   newsgroups.  When an article is posted to more than one newsgroup, it
   is said to be "crossposted"; note that this differs from posting the
   same text as part of each of several articles, one per newsgroup.

   A newsgroup may be "moderated", in which case submissions are not
   posted directly, but mailed to a "moderator" for consideration and
   possible posting.  Moderators are typically human but may be
   implemented partially or entirely in software.

   A "gateway" is software which receives news articles and converts
   them to messages of some other kind (e.g.  mail to a mailing list),
   or vice versa; in essence it is a translating relaying agent that
   straddles boundaries between different methods of message exchange.
   The most common type of gateway connects newsgroup(s) to mailing
   list(s), either unidirectionally or bidirectionally, but there are
   also gateways between news networks using this standard's news format



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   and those using other formats.

1.6  Structure of This Document

   Section 2 defines the format of news articles.  Section 3 defines
   some additional headers necessary for the netnews environment.













































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2.  Format

2.1  Base

   News articles MUST conform to the "legal to generate syntax"
   specified in Section 3 of [RFC2822].  News agents MAY also accept the
   obsolete syntax specified in Section 4 of [RFC2822], but they MUST
   NOT generate such syntax.

2.2  MIME Conformance

   User agents MUST meet the definition of MIME-conformance in
   [RFC2049].  This level of MIME Conformance provides support for
   internationalization and multimedia in message bodies, and support
   for internationalization of headers.  Note that the generation of
   internationalized newsgroup names for use in headers is specified by
   [useint].

2.3  Additional MIME Support

   User agents conformant with this document MAY support receipt (and
   automatic reassembly) of message/partial MIME messages, as specified
   in Section 5.2.2 of [RFC2046] and MAY support generation of message/
   partial articles for excessively large articles.

   User agents SHOULD support on receipt and MAY generate MIME extension
   header fields, including but not limited to Content-Disposition
   [RFC2183] and Content-Language [RFC3282].























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3.  Internet Message Format Headers

   Following [RFC2822] syntax, the headers defined in this document do
   not require a space between the ":" and the field's contents.  (E.g.,
   "Subject:Hello World" is acceptable, as opposed to requiring
   "Subject: Hello World".)  To be compliant with this specification,
   news agents MUST support 0 or more spaces between the colon and the
   field's contents.  However, to maximize compatibility with the
   installed base of news agents, implementers SHOULD use exactly one
   space.

3.1  Mandatory Headers

   Each news article conformant with this specification MUST have
   exactly one of each of the following headers: From, Subject, Date,
   Message-ID, Newsgroups, and Path.

   From and Subject are exactly as specified in Sections 3.6.2 and 3.6.5
   respectively of [RFC2822].  Further discussion of the content of the
   Subject header is discussed in [usepro] and [useage].

   Date is fully conformant with [RFC2822], though with extra
   restrictions detailed in Section 3.3

   In Section 3.4, this document updates the <msg-id> construct from
   [RFC2822] so as to ensure that Internet Message Format Message-IDs
   are usable in widely deployed news software.

   Newsgroups and Path are defined in Section 3.5.1 and Section 3.5.2
   respectively.

3.2  Optional Headers

   The headers Reply-To, Sender, Comments, and Keywords are often used
   in news articles and have the identical meaning as that specified in
   [RFC2822].  References and In-Reply-To are also regularly used in
   news articles and have same the same meaning as that specified in
   [RFC2822], except that they use the updated <msg-id> construct
   defined in Section 3.4.

   The headers Followup-To, Expires, Control, Distribution, Summary,
   Approved, Organization, Xref, Supersedes, Archive, and User-Agent are
   often used in news articles and are defined in Section 3.5.

3.3  Date

   The Date header is the same as that specified in Sections 3.3 and
   3.6.1 of [RFC2822].  However, the use of "GMT" as a time zone, which



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   is part of <obs-zone>, is widespread in news articles today.
   Therefore, agents MUST accept, but MUST NOT generate, <date-time>
   constructs which include <obs-zone>.  (As stated in Section 2.1,
   support for <obs-zone> would otherwise have been SHOULD accept, MUST
   NOT generate.) Note that these requirements apply wherever
   <date-time> is used, including Expires in Section 3.5.4.

3.4  Message-ID

   The "Message-ID:" field contains a single unique message identifier.
   This is the only header field definition that updates [RFC2822].  The
   ABNF should be used as below, but the requirements and descriptive
   text from Section 3.6.4 of [RFC2822] still apply.

   message-id      =  "Message-ID:" msg-id CRLF

   msg-id          =  [CFWS] msg-id-core [CFWS]

   msg-id-core     =  "<" id-left "@" id-right ">"
                      ; maximum length is 250 octets

   id-left         =  dot-atom-text / no-fold-quote / obs-id-left

   id-right        =  dot-atom-text / no-fold-literal / obs-id-right

   no-fold-quote   =  DQUOTE *( qtext / no-space-qp ) DQUOTE

   no-fold-literal =  "[" *( htext / no-space-qp ) "]"

   no-space-qp     =  ( "\" ptext ) / obs-qp

   ptext           =  %d33-61 /  ; Printable characters excluding ">"
                      %d63-126 /
                      obs-text

   htext           =  HEXDIG /  ; hexadecimal digits, case-insensitive
                      "." /     ; IPv4 separator
                      ":"       ; IPv6 separator

   Although compliant agents MUST support [CFWS] between the
   "Message-ID:" and the <msg-id-core>, implementers SHOULD generate
   exactly one space there, to maximize compatibility with the installed
   base.

   Note that this updated ABNF applies wherever <msg-id> is used,
   including the In-Reply-To and References headers mentioned in Section
   3.2.




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3.5  News Headers

   The following news headers (also known as header fields) extend the
   fields defined in section 3.6 of [RFC2822] as follows:

   fields          =/ *( newsgroups /
                         path /
                         followup-to /
                         expires /
                         control /
                         distribution /
                         summary /
                         approved /
                         organization /
                         xref /
                         supersedes /
                         archive /
                         user-agent )

   Each of these headers may occur at most once in a news article.

3.5.1  Newsgroups

   The Newsgroups header specifies to which newsgroup(s) the article is
   posted.

   newsgroups      =  "Newsgroups:" newsgroup-list CRLF

   newsgroup-list  =  [FWS] newsgroup-name
                      *( "," [FWS] newsgroup-name ) [FWS]

   newsgroup-name  =  component *( "." component ) ; 71 character max

   component       =  plain-component

   plain-component =  component-start *29component-rest

   component-start =  ALPHA / DIGIT

   component-rest  =  ALPHA / DIGIT / "+" / "-" / "_"

   A newsgroup name consists of one or more components separated by
   periods, with no more than 71 characters total.  Each component
   consists of less than 30 or less letters and digits.

3.5.2  Path

   The Path header's content indicates which relayers the article has



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   already visited, so that unnecessary redundant transmission can be
   avoided.

   path            =  "Path:" [FWS]
                      *( path-host [FWS] path-delimiter [FWS] )
                      path-host [FWS] CRLF

   path-host       =  ( ALPHA / DIGIT )
                      *( ALPHA / DIGIT / "-" / "." / ":" / "_" )

   path-delimiter  =  "!"


3.5.3  Followup-To

   The Followup-To header specifies to which newsgroup(s) followups
   should be posted.

   followup-to     =  "Followup-To:" ( newsgroup-list / poster-text )
                      CRLF

   poster-text     =  [FWS] %d112.111.115.116.101.114 [FWS]
                      ; "poster" in lower-case

   The syntax is the same as that of the Newsgroups content, with the
   exception that the magic word "poster" (which is always lowercase)
   means that followups should be mailed to the article's reply address
   rather than posted.

3.5.4  Expires

   The Expires header specifies a date and time when the article is
   deemed to be no longer useful and could usefully be removed
   ("expired").

   expires         =  "Expires:" date-time CRLF


3.5.5  Control

   The Control header marks the article as a control message, and
   specifies the desired actions (additional to the usual ones of
   storing and/or relaying the article).  The verb indicates what action
   should be taken, and the argument(s) (if any) supply details.  In
   some cases, the body of the article may also contain details.
   Control messages are further specified in the companion document,
   [usepro].




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   control         =  "Control:" verb *( FWS argument ) CRLF

   An article with a Control header MUST NOT have a Supersedes header.

3.5.6  Distribution

   The Distribution header specifies geographic or organizational limits
   on an article's propagation.

   distribution    =  "Distribution:" dist-name *( "," dist-name ) CRLF

   dist-name       =  [FWS] ALPHA / DIGIT
                      *( ALPHA / DIGIT / "+" / "-" / "_" ) [FWS]

   "All" MUST NOT be used as a distribution-name.  Distribution-names
   SHOULD contain at least three characters, except when they are
   two-letter country names as in [ISO.3166.1988].  Distribution-names
   are case-insensitive (i.e.  "US", "Us", "uS", and "us" all specify
   the same distribution).

3.5.7  Summary

   The Summary header is a short phrase summarizing the article's
   content.

   summary         =  "Summary:" unstructured CRLF


3.5.8  Approved

   The Approved header indicates the mailing addresses (and possibly the
   full names) of the moderators approving the article for posting.

   approved        =  "Approved:" mailbox-list CRLF


3.5.9  Organization

   The Organization header is a short phrase identifying the poster's
   organization.

   organization    =  "Organization:" unstructured CRLF

   There is no "s" in Organization.

3.5.10  Xref

   The Xref header indicates where an article was filed by the last



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   server to process it.

   xref            =  "Xref:" [CFWS] path-host
                      1*( CFWS location ) CRLF

   location        =  newsgroup-name ":" 1*16DIGIT


3.5.11  Supersedes

   The Supersedes header specifies articles to be cancelled.

   supersedes      =  "Supersedes:" 1*( [FWS] msg-id-core ) CRLF

   There is no "c" in Supersedes.

3.5.12  Archive

   The Archive header provides an indication of the poster's intent
   regarding preservation of the article in publicly accessible
   long-term or permanent storage.

   archive         =  "Archive:" [CFWS] ("no" / "yes")
                      *( [CFWS] ";" archive-param ) CRLF

   archive-param   =  <a parameter with attribute "filename"
                       and any value>


3.5.13  User-Agent

   The User-Agent header contains information about the user agent
   (typically a newsreader) generating the article for statistical
   purposes and tracing of standards violations to specific software
   needing correction.  Although not one of the mandatory headers,
   posting agents SHOULD normally include it.  It is also intended that
   this header be suitable for use in Email.

   user-agent      =  "User-Agent:"
                       1*( [CFWS] product [ "/" prod-version ] ) CRLF

   product         =  token
   prod-version    =  token








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4.  Internationalization Considerations

   Internationalization of news article bodies is provided using MIME
   mechanisms in Section 2.2.  Generation of internationalized message
   headers is not specified in this document, and is instead specified
   in the experimental standard, [useint].













































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5.  Security Considerations

   The news article format specified in this document does not provide
   any security services, such as confidentiality, authentication of
   sender, or non-forgery.  Instead, such services need to be layered
   above, using such protocols as S/MIME [RFC2633] or PGP/MIME
   [RFC3156], or below, using secure versions of news transport
   protocols.  Additionally, several currently non-standardized
   protocols [PGPVERIFY] will hopefully be standardized in the near
   future.

   Message-IDs (see Section 3.4) in news are required to be unique;
   articles are refused (in server-to-server transfer) if the ID has
   already been seen.  So if you can predict the ID of a message, you
   can preempt it by posting a message (possibly to a quite different
   group) with the same ID, stopping your target message from
   propagating.  Agents that generate message-ids for news articles
   SHOULD ensure that they are unpredictable.

































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6.  References

6.1  Normative References

   [RFC2046]  Freed, N. and N. Borenstein, "Multipurpose Internet Mail
              Extensions (MIME) Part Two: Media Types", RFC 2046,
              November 1996.

   [RFC2049]  Freed, N. and N. Borenstein, "Multipurpose Internet Mail
              Extensions (MIME) Part Five: Conformance Criteria and
              Examples", RFC 2049, November 1996.

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC2183]  Troost, R., Dorner, S. and K. Moore, "Communicating
              Presentation Information in Internet Messages: The
              Content-Disposition Header Field", RFC 2183, August 1997.

   [RFC2231]  Freed, N. and K. Moore, "MIME Parameter Value and Encoded
              Word Extensions: Character Sets, Languages, and
              Continuations", RFC 2231, November 1997.

   [RFC2234]  Crocker, D. and P. Overell, "Augmented BNF for Syntax
              Specifications: ABNF", RFC 2234, November 1997.

   [RFC2646]  Gellens, R., "The Text/Plain Format Parameter", RFC 2646,
              August 1999.

   [RFC2822]  Resnick, P., "Internet Message Format", RFC 2822, April
              2001.

   [RFC3282]  Alvestrand, H., "Content Language Headers", RFC 3282, May
              2002.

6.2  Informative References

   [ISO.3166.1988]
              International Organization for Standardization, "Codes for
              the representation of names of countries, 3rd edition",
              ISO Standard 3166, August 1988.

   [PGPVERIFY]
              Lawrence, D., "PGPverify
              <ftp://ftp.isc.org/pub/pgpcontrol/README.html>", June
              1999.

   [RFC0977]  Kantor, B. and P. Lapsley, "Network News Transfer



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              Protocol", RFC 977, February 1986.

   [RFC1036]  Horton, M. and R. Adams, "Standard for interchange of
              USENET messages", RFC 1036, December 1987.

   [RFC1939]  Myers, J. and M. Rose, "Post Office Protocol - Version 3",
              STD 53, RFC 1939, May 1996.

   [RFC2633]  Ramsdell, B., "S/MIME Version 3 Message Specification",
              RFC 2633, June 1999.

   [RFC2821]  Klensin, J., "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", RFC 2821,
              April 2001.

   [RFC3156]  Elkins, M., Del Torto, D., Levien, R. and T. Roessler,
              "MIME Security with OpenPGP", RFC 3156, August 2001.

   [RFC3501]  Crispin, M., "INTERNET MESSAGE ACCESS PROTOCOL - VERSION
              4rev1", RFC 3501, March 2003.

   [errata]   "RFC Editor Errata
              <http://www.rfc-editor.org/errata.html>".

   [useage]   "Usenet Implementation Recommendations (work in
              progress)".

   [useint]   "Usenet Internationalization (work in progress)".

   [usepro]   "Usenet Protocol (work in progress)".


Authors' Addresses

   Charles H. Lindsey
   University of Manchester
   5 Clerewood Avenue
   Heald Green
   Cheadle
   Chesire  SK8 3JU
   GB

   Phone: +44 161 436 6131
   EMail: chl@clw.cs.man.ac.uk








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   Dan Kohn
   Skymoon Ventures
   3045 Park Boulevard
   Palo Alto, CA  94306
   US

   Phone: +1 650 327 2600
   EMail: dan@dankohn.com


   Kenneth Murchison
   Oceana Matrix Ltd.
   21 Princeton Place
   Orchard Park, NY  14127
   US

   Phone: +1 716 662 8973
   EMail: ken@oceana.com

































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Appendix A.  Acknowledgements

   Comments and/or text were provided by Mark Crispin, Claus Faerber,
   Ned Freed, Andrew Gierth, Tony Hansen, Paul Hoffman, Simon Josefsson,
   Bruce Lilly, Pete Resnick, and Henry Spencer.














































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