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This article was posted to the Usenet group alt.hackers in 1995; any technical information is probably outdated.

Re: Mail systems on AOL

Article: 8411 of alt.hackers
Newsgroups: alt.hackers
Subject: Re: Mail systems on AOL
Date: 8 Aug 1995 13:26:15 GMT
Organization: University of Colorado, Boulder
Lines: 87
Approved: me
Message-ID: 407oln$6ko@lace.Colorado.EDU
Status: RO

In article <405vfu$>,
Simon Joseph Dedeo <> wrote:
>Having read the RFC's for SMTP, I've been led
>to believe that sending mail is impossible unless
>one can telnet to the SMTP port of the destination
>site (usu. 25). How, then, does mail from
>"escape"? Mail *seems* to be coming from something
>like "", but I'm unable to telnet
>to port 25 there. What's up with that? Isn't the
>ability to access that port necessary for two
>machines to exchange message texts?
>And now I'm *really* getting out of my league...
>When mail is addressed "", the mail
>program must access the DNS to locate the address
>to telnet to, right? So why does a telnet to
>return a "No address associated with name" error?
>-Simon D.
>apologies for the foolish statements in the paragraphs above.

Well, you are on the right track.  Firstly, the machine originating
the mail doesn't have to be able to receive mail.  Thus, emout04 (as
I suppose one could guess from the name) is probably just for sending
mail only.

Secondly, for sending mail, you are on the right track.  The trick
is in your statement about accessing DNS.  Your next reading, therefore,
should be about DNS, and in particular (hint) things called mx records.

Double hint:

ebola:crosby% dig mx

; <<>> DiG 2.0 <<>> mx
;; res options: init recurs defnam dnsrch
;; got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 6
;; flags: qr rd ra; Ques: 1, Ans: 5, Auth: 4, Addit: 9
;;, type = MX, class = IN

;; ANSWERS:        26892   MX      15        26892   MX      15        26892   MX      15        26892   MX      15        26892   MX      15

aol.COM.        113292  NS      HP81.PROD.AOL.NET.
aol.COM.        113292  NS
aol.COM.        113292  NS      NIS.ANS.NET.
aol.COM.        113292  NS      NS.ANS.NET.

;; ADDITIONAL RECORDS:    44436   A    44436   A    36820   A    20186   A    44436   A
HP81.PROD.AOL.NET.      102162  A      113292  A
NIS.ANS.NET.    306782  A
NS.ANS.NET.     306782  A

;; Total query time: 46 msec
;; FROM: ebola.UU.NET to SERVER: default --
;; WHEN: Tue Aug  8 09:13:29 1995
;; MSG SIZE  sent: 25  rcvd: 390

Good luck!  You are on the path to enlightenment, O grasshopper.


Writing a postscript pretty print program in Perl using only the
output from MS write (blech) as a postscript reference.  Not
much of a hack, especially as I was once pretty good a postscript
(Though I haven't programmed it in like two years and have forgotten
everything...I need to buy a copy of the blue book), but it was
all I could think of for the moment.  I'll post of something better


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