comp - compose a message (only available within the message
handling system, mh)
comp [msg] [+folder] [options]
Specifies the folder in which the draft message is created.
If you do not send the draft, it is stored in this
This option is usually set up in your See mh_profile(4) for more information. If you have this
option set up, you can override it by using the
-nodraftfolder option. Specifies the name of a
file in which a draft message is created. If no
absolute pathname is given, this file is assumed to
be in your Mail directory. If the file already
exists, the mail system will ask you what you want
to do with its contents before the draft message is
If the named file does not contain a message
header, the -draftmessage option does not create
one. If you want to create a message in an empty
file, use the -file option. You cannot use
-draftmessage to specify a file name with the
-draftfolder option. Specifies the editor used to
create the draft message. The default editor is
prompter; see prompter(1). You can specify any
approved editor as an alternative.
If you regularly use the same editor, you can specify
it in the Editor: line of your entry sets up vi
as the editor you use to compose mail messages:
Editor: /usr/ucb/vi Uses the named file to create
the draft message in. If no absolute pathname is
given, the file is assumed to be in your Mail
directory. If the file already exists, the mail
system will ask you what you want to do with its
contents before the draft is created.
Unlike the -draftmessage option, this option creates
a message header for a new draft. This means
that you can create a draft in an empty file and
send it successfully. Specifies an alternative
mail header for your draft. The named form-file
contains a message header, which comp uses when it
creates the draft message. If no absolute pathname
is given, it is assumed that the file is in your
If you do not specify the -form option, comp takes
the message header from the components file in your
Mail directory, or, if this does not exist, it uses
the system default header.
You cannot use the -form option with either a
+folder or a msgs argument. Prints a list of the
valid options for this command. Creates a draft
without invoking an editor. You are placed immediately
at the What now? prompt, without being given
the opportunity to edit the draft at all. This
option is only useful if you are sending an existing
draft using the -use option to comp. Otherwise
it will produce a draft with no addresses and no
content. Uses an existing draft as the new draft
message. If you have saved a previous unsent draft
in a drafts folder or in the draft file, you can
edit and send it using the -use option. The previous
draft is displayed on your screen and the editor
is invoked to allow you to edit the draft. When
you exit from the editor, you receive the What now?
prompt in the usual way.
If you have a draft folder set up, or specify one
with the -draftfolder option, the mail system will
use the current draft in that folder as the new
draft message. If you do not have a draft folder,
it will use the contents of the draft file. If you
do not want to use the current message in a folder,
you can supply a message number. You can also use
a message in a file by giving the file name using
the -file or the -draftmessage options.
If you want to send an existing draft without editing
it further, you can supply the -use option in
conjunction with the -noedit option. This will
place you at the What now? prompt without invoking
an editor. Specifies an alternative whatnow program.
Normally, comp invokes the default whatnow
program. See whatnow(1) for a discussion of available
options. You can specify your own alternative
to the default program using the -whatnowproc program
option. If you do specify your own program,
you should not call it whatnow.
You can suppress the whatnow program entirely by
using the -nowhatnowproc option. However, as the
program normally starts the initial edit, the
-nowhatnowproc option will prevent you from editing
The defaults for comp are:
+foldername defaults to the current folder
msg defaults to the current message
Use comp to create a new message for mailing. When you run
comp, it provides a message template for you to fill in
and invokes an editor so that you can complete the message.
The comp command normally creates the new message in your
draft folder, if you have one set up, or in the draft file
if you do not have a draft folder set up. If you wish to
use an existing message as the basis of your new draft
message, you can use the msg or +folder arguments. The
+folder argument takes the current message in the named
folder as the basis of the new draft message. The msg
argument takes the named message from your draft folder,
or if you do not have a draft folder set up, from your
current folder. In both cases, the mail system asks you
what you want to do with the existing message. You cannot
use the msg and +folder arguments together.
A mail message consists of a mail header and the body of
the message. The mail header contains all the information
that determines who is going to receive the mail message.
It can also give the recipients some information about the
sender. The body of the message is the actual text of the
message that you want to send. The header is separated
from the body of the text by a blank line or by a line of
dashes. The header must be separated from the body of the
message in this way for the message to be identified properly
when it is sent; see send(1).
The standard message header looks like this: To: cc: Subject:
You can specify an alternative mail header by setting up a
file called components in your Mail directory. This is
used instead of the default mail header by comp.
If you do not have a draft folder set up, comp creates
your new draft in a file called draft in your Mail directory.
This file must be empty before you can create a new
draft, which means that you can only store one draft at a
time. If it is not empty, the mail system will ask you
what you want to do with the existing contents. The
options are: Aborts comp, leaving the draft intact.
Replaces the existing draft with the appropriate message
form. Allows you to edit the existing draft. Displays
the draft message. Refiles the existing draft message in
the specified folder, and provides a new message form for
you to complete.
If you want to have more than one draft at a time, you can
set up a draft folder in your keep as many unsent drafts
as space allows, and still create new messages as you
wish. To do this, make sure that the following line is in
For more information on how to do this, see mh_profile(4).
If you set up a draft folder, all draft messages are created
in that folder. If you decide not to send the draft,
by typing quit at the What now? prompt, the message is
stored in the draft folder. You can then re-edit the message,
or send it at a later date, by using the -use option
Path: To determine your Mail directory
Draft-Folder: To find the default draft folder
Editor: To override the default editor
Msg-Protect: To set mode when creating a new message
fileproc: Program to refile the message
whatnowproc: Program to ask the "What now?" questions
The default system template for draft messages. The usersupplied
alternative to the default draft template. Your
user profile. The draft file.
dist(1), forw(1), prompter(1), repl(1), send(1), whatnow(1), mh_profile(4)
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