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Archive Servers

An alternative to the currently well over-used FTPmail system is taking advantage of the many archive servers that are presently being maintained. These are programs that receive email messages that contain commands, and act on them. For example, sending an archive server the command `help' will usually yield, in the form of a piece of email, information on how to use the various commands that the server has available.

One such archive server is `service@nic.ddn.mil'. Maintained by the Network Information Center (NIC) in Chantilly, VA, the server is set up to make all of the information at the NIC available for people who don't have access to FTP. This also includes the WHOIS service (see section The WHOIS Database). Some sample `Subject:' lines for queries to the NIC server are:

 Subject: help                          Describes available commands.
 Subject: rfc 822                       Sends a copy of RFC-822.
 Subject: rfc index                     Sends an index of the available RFCs.
 Subject: netinfo domain-template.txt   Sends a domain application.
 Subject: whois widener                 Sends WHOIS information on `widener'.

More information on using their archive server can be obtained by writing to their server address service@nic.ddn.mil with a `Subject:' of help.

There are different "brands" of archive server, each with its own set of commands and services. Among them there often exists a common set of commands and services (e.g. `index', `help', etc). Be that as it may, one should always consult the individual help for a specific server before assuming the syntax--100K surprises can be hard on a system.

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Copyright © 1998, Software Engineering Laboratory
National Technical University of Athens