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RFC 0735

Revised Telnet byte macro option

Pages: 5
Proposed Standard
Obsoletes:  0729

ToP   noToC   RFC0735 - Page 1
Network Working Group                                   David H. Crocker
RFC: #735                                                       Rand-ISD
NIC: #42083                                      (Dcrocker at Rand-Unix)
                                                     Richard H. Gumpertz
                                              Carnegie-Mellon University
                                                   (Gumpertz at CMU-10A)
Obsoletes: RFC #729 (NIC #40306)                         3 November 1977

                    Revised TELNET Byte Macro Option
1. Command name and code:

   BM 19

2. Command Meanings:


      The sender of this command REQUESTS or AGREES to use the BM
      option, and will send single data characters which are to be
      interpreted as if replacement data strings had been sent.


      The sender of this option REFUSES to send single data characters
      which are to be interpreted as if replacement data strings had
      been sent. Any existing BM <macro byte> definitions are discarded
      (i.e., reset to their original data interpretations).


      The sender REQUESTS or AGREES to have the other side (sender of
      WILL BM) send single data characters which are to be interpreted
      as if replacement data strings had been sent.


      The sender REFUSES to allow the other side to send single data
      characters which are to be interpreted as if replacement data
      strings had been sent. Any existing BM <macro byte> definitions
      are to be discarded.
ToP   noToC   RFC0735 - Page 2
   IAC SB BM <DEFINE> <macro byte> <count>
                                             <replacement string> IAC SE


         <macro byte> is the data byte actually to be sent across the
         network; it may NOT be Telnet IAC (decimal 255, but may be any
         other 8-bit character.

         <count> is one 8-bit byte binary number, indicating how many
         <replacement string> characters follow, up to the ending IAC
         SE, but not including it. Note that doubled IACs in the
         definition should only be counted as one character per pair.

         <replacement string> is a string of zero or more Telnet ASCII
         characters and/or commands, which the <macro byte> is to
         represent; any character may occur within a <replacement
         string>. Note, however, that an IAC in the string must be
         doubled, to be interpreted later as an IAC; to be interpreted
         later as data byte 255, it must be quadrupled in the original
         <replacement string> specification.

      The indicated <macro byte> will be sent instead of the indicated
      <replacement string>. The receiver of the <macro byte> (the sender
      of the DO BM) is to behave EXACTLY as if the <replacement string>
      string of bytes had instead been received from the network. This
      interpretation is to occur before any other Telnet
      interpretations, unless the <macro byte> occurs as part of a
      Telnet command; in this case no special interpretation is to be
      made. In particular, an entire Telnet subnegotiation (i.e. from
      IAC SB through IAC SE) is to be considered a Telnet command in
      which NO replacement should be done.

      The effect of a particular <macro byte> may be negated by reseting
      it to "expand" into itself.

      IAC SB BM <DEFINE> X <0> IAC SE may be used to cause X to be
      ignored in the data stream.

      <DEFINE> is decimal 1.

   IAC SB BM <ACCEPT> <macro byte> IAC SE

      The receiver of the <DEFINE> for <macro byte> accepts the
      requested definition and will perform the indicated replacement
      whenever a <macro byte> is received and is not part of any IAC
      Telnet command sequence.
ToP   noToC   RFC0735 - Page 3
      <ACCEPT> is decimal 2.

   IAC SB BM <REFUSE> <macro byte> <REASON> IAC SE

      The receiver of the <DEFINE> for <macro byte> refuses to perform
      the indicated translation from <macro byte> to <replacement
      string> because the particular <macro byte> is not an acceptable
      choice, the length of the <replacement string> exceeds available
      storage, the length of the actual <replacement string> did not
      match the length predicted in the <count>, or for some unspecified

      <REFUSE> is decimal 3.

      <REASON> may be

         <BAD-CHOICE>        which is decimal 1;

         <TOO-LONG>          (for receiver's storage) which is decimal

         <WRONG-LENGTH>      (of actual string compared with promised
                             length in <count>) which is decimal 3; or

         <OTHER-REASON>      (intended for use only until this document
                             can be updated to include reasons not
                             anticipated by the authors) which is
                             decimal zero (0).

   IAC SB BM <LITERAL> <macro byte> IAC SE

      The <macro byte> is to be treated as real data, rather than as
      representative of the <replacement string>

      Note that this subcommand cannot be used during Telnet
      subcommands, since subcommands are defined to end with the next
      occurrence of "IAC SE". Including this BM subcommand within any
      Telnet subcommand would therefore prematurely terminate the
      containing subcommand.

      <LITERAL> is decimal 4.


      The RECEIVER of the defined <macro byte> (i.e., the sender of IAC
      DO BM) requests the sender of <macro byte> to cancel its
      definition. <REASON> is the same as for the <REFUSE> subcommand.
ToP   noToC   RFC0735 - Page 4
      The <macro byte> sender should (but is not required to) respond by
      resetting <macro byte> (i.e., sending an IAC SB BM <DEFINE> <macro
      byte> <1> <macro byte> IAC SE).

      If the receiver absolutely insists on cancelling a given macro,
      the best it can do is to turn off the entire option, with IAC DONT
      BM, wait for an acknowledging IAC WONT BM and then restart the
      option, with IAC DO BM. This will reset all other macroes as well
      but it will allow the receiver to REFUSE with code BAD CHOICE
      if/when the foreign site attempts to redefine the macro in

3. Default:


      No reinterpretation of data bytes is done.

4. Motivation for the option:

   Subcommands for Telnet options currently require a minimum of five
   characters to be sent over the network (i.e., IAC SB <Option name>
   IAC SE). For subcommands which are employed infrequently, in absolute
   numbers and in relation to normal data, this overhead is tolerable.
   In other cases, however, it is not. For example, data which is sent
   in a block- oriented fashion may need a "block separator" mark. If
   blocks are commonly as small as five or ten bytes, then most of the
   cross-net data will be control information. The BM option is intended
   as a simple data compression technique, to remove this overhead from
   the communication channel.

5. Description of the option

   The option is enabled through the standard Telnet Option negotiation
   process. Afterwards, the SENDER of data (the side which sends the IAC
   WILL BM) is free to define and use mappings between single and
   replacement NVT characters. Except for the ability to refuse
   particular definitions, the receiver of data has no control over the
   definition and use of mappings.

   The sender (of the WILL BM) is prohibited from using or redefining a
   <macro byte> until it has received an <ACCEPT> <REFUSE>, or DONT BM,
   in reply to a <DEFINE>.

   NOTE: The Telnet command character IAC (decimal 255) may be a member
   of a <replacement string> but is the ONLY character which may NOT be
   defined as a <macro byte>.
ToP   noToC   RFC0735 - Page 5
   Within any Telnet command (i.e., any sequence beginning with IAC)
   macro replacement may NOT take place. Data are to be interpreted only
   as their normal character values. This avoids the problem of
   distinguishing between a character which is to be taken as a <macro
   byte>, and interpreted as its corresponding <replacement string>, and
   one which is to be taken as its usual Telnet NVT value. In all other
   cases, however, <macro byte>s are to be interpreted immediately, as
   if their corresponding <replacement string>s had actually been sent
   across the network. Expanded strings are not subject to
   reinterpretation, so that recursive definitions cannot be made.
   Telnet commands may be included in <replacement strings>; however,
   they must be totally contained within the macro or must begin within
   the macro and terminate outside of it. In particular, they may NOT
   begin outside a macro and continue or terminate inside one, since no
   macro replacement takes place while processing any Telnet command.

   Note that when skipping data due to Telnet SYNCH (INS/DM) processing,
   BM macro replacement should still take place, since (for example)
   "IAC DM" would be a valid <replacement string>.

   The <count> in the <DEFINE> subcommand is intended to allow the
   receiver to allocate storage. IAC interpretation is not over-ridden
   during BM subcommands so that IAC SE will continue to safely
   terminate malformed subcommands.

   The BM option is notably inefficient with regard to problems during
   <macro byte> definition and use of <macro byte>s as real data. It is
   expected that relatively few <macro byte>s will be defined and that
   they will represent relatively short strings. Since the Telnet data
   space between decimal 128 and decimal 254 is not normally used,
   except by implementations employing the original (obsolete) Telnet
   protocol, it is recommended that <macro byte>s normally be drawn from
   that pool.