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Every program is built on a simple idea. You have to see thru all
the junk and figure it out. The best way to do this is to write a
little program that will do the same thing. An example is a mail
client program. You can write the simple idea in a working program
in just a few lines. The Fetch program given later will show
you a working example.
The simple idea for most programs generally has dozens of features
and optimizations added to it. But it also probably has a standard
definition someplace. Mail clients follow an RFC standard .
You should get a copy of the standard and read it. In fact, while
you're there you should read many of the other standards. Did you
know there an RFC standard for sending mail by carrier pigeon
(RFC 1149 )