smtplib problem

Matthew Dixon Cowles matt at
Mon Feb 12 20:34:35 CET 2001

On Mon, 12 Feb 2001 06:48:20 GMT, Sheila King <sheila at>

>Nice. And how does one do SMTP authorization? (There must be a way. I
>see that the NNTP module includes authorization commands, but the
>smtplib doesn't!)

Unfortunately SMTP authentication is a Big Mess. NNTP authentication
is generally just a matter of sending a username and a password. It's
described in a couple of hundred lines in RFC 2980. The information
necessary to implement SMTP authentication is scattered through a
stack of seemingly unrelated and difficult to follow RFCs (2104, 2195
2222, 2554, and 2595, I think). Figuring out the right thing to do is
no trivial task. So you wind up with a chicken-and-egg problem: Few
SMTP servers implement authentication because few clients want to use
it. Since few servers implement it, there's little reason for the
authors of mail clients to implement it.

I don't use it on my MTAs or MUAs. I just tell people to have ssh
forward port 25.


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