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Electronic mail, mostly abbreviated email or e-mail, is a method of exchanging digital text messages. An electronic mail message includes two components, the message header, and the message body, which are the email’s content. The message header consists of control information, including, minimally, an originator’s email address and one or more recipient addresses. Usually more information is added, like a subject matter header field. Originally a text-only communications medium, email was expanded to carry multi-media content accessories, that has been standardized in with RFC 2045 through RFC 2049, collectively called, Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME). There are many spelling variations that will be the reason behind vehement disagreement occasionally.

RFC. The service is known as mail and an individual piece of electronic mail is called a message. Mail, capitalizing only the letter M, was common among ARPANET users and early developers from Unix, CMS, AppleLink, eWorld, AOL, GEnie, and Hotmail. Electronic mail predates the inception of the Internet, and was in fact an essential tool in creating it. This new capability encouraged users to talk about information in new ways. E-mail started in 1965 as a way for multiple users of a time-sharing mainframe computer to connect. Although the exact history is murky, among the first systems to have such a facility were SDC’s Q32 and MIT’s CTSS.

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The original email systems allowed communication only between users who logged into the one web host or “mainframe”, but this may be hundreds or thousands of users within a company or university or college. By 1966 (or earlier, it is possible that the SAGE system had something similar some time before), such systems allowed email between different companies as long as they ran compatible operating systems, however, not to other dissimilar systems. Examples include BITNET, IBM PROFS, Digital Equipment Corporation ALL-IN-1, and the original Unix mail. From the first 1980s networked personal computers on LANs became progressively important.

Examples include cc: Mail, WordPerfect Office, Microsoft Mail, Banyan VINES, and Lotus Notes – with various vendors supplying gateway software to web page link these incompatible systems. In the early 1970s, Ray Tomlinson updated a preexisting utility called SNDMSG such that it could copy files over the network. Lawrence Roberts, the task manager for the ARPANET development, up to date READMAIL and called the scheduled program RD. Barry Wessler updated RD and called it NRD then. Marty Yonke combined SNDMSG and NRD to add reading, sending, and a help system, and called the utility WRD.

John Vittal then updated this version to add message forwarding and a remedy command to generate replies with the right address and called it MSG. With the addition of the features, MSG is known as to be the first modern email program, from which a great many other applications have descended. The ARPANET computer network made a sizable contribution to the development of e-mails. The ARPANET significantly increased the popularity of e-mail, and it became the killer application of the ARPANET.

Most other networks acquired their own email protocols and address platforms; as the impact of the ARPANET and later the Internet grew, central sites often managed email gateways that exceeded mail between the Internet and these other networks. Internet email addressing is still complicated by the need to handle email destined for these old networks.