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From "Siegfried Goeschl (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] [Commented] (EMAIL-105) Clarify names for SSL and TLS
Date Sun, 28 Aug 2011 20:18:38 GMT


Siegfried Goeschl commented on EMAIL-105:

Hi Bruno - thanks for the detailed explanation since I was not aware of the details

> Clarify names for SSL and TLS
> -----------------------------
>                 Key: EMAIL-105
>                 URL:
>             Project: Commons Email
>          Issue Type: Improvement
>            Reporter: Bruno Harbulot
>            Assignee: Siegfried Goeschl
>         Attachments: ssl-starttls.patch
> The API offers two categories of settings for the configuration of SSL/TLS: {{setSSL}}
and {{setTLS}} (and respective associated methods).
> The names are quite misleading, as this doesn't really oppose SSL and TLS. A number of
e-mail applications make this mistake, but "TLS" is used here to mean "using STARTTLS" and
"SSL" is used here to mean "SSL or TLS, upon connection".
> The difference is that:
> - With "SSL" (as incorrectly named here), the SMTP client connects to the SMTP server
on a dedicated port and starts the SSL/TLS handshake upon connection. This is then followed
by "normal" SMTP traffic on this SSL/TLS layer.
> - With "TLS" (as incorrectly named here), the SMTP client connects to the SMTP server
on the same port as it would do for plain-text SMTP, exchanges a few SMTP commands, including
[STARTTLS (RFC 3207)| ], and then starts an SSL/TLS handshake
to upgrade to a secure channel.
> This is not so much a difference between SSL and TLS, but rather a difference regarding
when the connection is turned into a secure one.
> The difference between SSLv3 and TLS 1.0 is mostly a version difference, where SSLv3
is the predecessor of TLS 1.0.
> You can have an TLS 1.0+ upon connection, using the "SSL" setting, without using {{STARTTLS}}
(it's a version configuration up to the {{SSLEngine}} or {{SSLSocketFactory}}).
> Similarly, although it's not written in the specification, some servers seem to accept
an SSLv3 handshake (instead of its successor version: TLS 1.0) after {{STARTTLS}}.
> I'd suggest deprecating {{setSSL}} and {{setTLS}} and replacing them with {{setOnConnectSSL}}
and {{setStartTLS}} (or similar), respectively.

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