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NAME    [Toc]    [Back]

       mh, MH - Introduction to the MH system for handling mail

DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]

       MH  is  the  name  of  a powerful message handling system.
       Rather than being a single comprehensive program, MH  consists
 of a collection of fairly simple single-purpose programs
 to send, receive, save, and retrieve messages.

       Unlike mail, MH is  not  a  closed  system  that  must  be
       explicitly run, and then exited when you wish to return to
       the shell. Instead, you may freely intersperse MH commands
       with  other  shell  commands.  This allows you to read and
       answer your mail while you have (for example)  a  compilation
  running, or are searching for a file or running programs
 to find  an  answer  to  someone's  question  before
       replying to them.

       To  get started using MH, add the directory /usr/bin/mh to
       your $PATH. This is best done in one of the  files  or  in
       your  home  directory.  Check  the  reference page for the
       shell you use if you do not know how to do this.  Run  the
       inc  command.  If  you  have never used MH before, the inc
       command creates the necessary default files  and  directories
  after  asking  you  if you want it to do so. The inc
       command moves mail from your system maildrop into your  MH
       +inbox  folder.   Each  message is converted to MH format,
       and stored as separate files in your +inbox  folder  until
       you  have  read  it. When you have read a message, you can
       refile it in another folder that you have created.

       Folders are directories in which messages are stored:  the
       folders  themselves are stored in your Mail directory. See
       refile(1) and folder(1) for more details.

       For each message it processes, inc prints a one-line  display.
  The  one-line display contains the From: field, the
       Subject: field, and as much of the first line of the  message
  as  it  can  accommodate. The first message that inc
       processes becomes your current message.  All  MH  commands
       operate  on  the current message unless you have specified
       the msg argument.

       You need to run inc each time you wish to incorporate  new
       mail into your +inbox folder.

       The  scan  command  prints  a list of the messages in your
       current folder.

       The commands show, next, and prev are used  to  read  specific
  messages  from  the current folder.  Of these, show
       displays the current message. You can also display a  specific
  message  by specifying its number. In the following
       example, the mail system displays the contents of  message
       number 10 in the current folder:

       % show 10

       The commands next and prev display the message numerically
       following and numerically preceding the  current  message,
       respectively.  In all cases, the message displayed becomes
       the current message.  If there is no current message, show
       may  be  called  with  an argument, or next may be used to
       advance to the first message. The command rmm (remove message)
 deletes the current message.

       You  can delete messages other than the current message by
       specifying the message number or numbers. When you specify
       more than one message, you separate each message number by
       a space. In the following example, messages 2, 4 and 6  in
       the current folder are deleted:

       % rmm 2 4 6

       The  command repl is used to reply to a message. This command
 places you in the editor with  a  prototype  response
       form.  While  you are in the editor, you may view the item
       you are responding to by reading the file @.

       The comp command  allows  you  to  compose  a  message  by
       putting  you in the editor on a blank message header form,
       and then lets you send it.

       All the MH commands can be run with only the -help option,
       which  causes  them  to print a list of the parameters and
       options with which they can be used.

       Commands that take a message number as an argument  (scan,
       show,  and repl, for example) also take one of the following
 keywords: Specifies the first message in  the  current
       folder.  Specifies the last message in the current folder.
       Specifies the  current  message  in  the  current  folder.
       Specifies  the  previous  message  in  the current folder.
       Specifies the next message in the current folder.

       Commands that take a range of  message  numbers,  such  as
       rmm,  scan, or show, also take any of the following abbreviations:
 Indicates all messages  in  the  range  num1  to
       num2, inclusive. The specified range must contain at least
       one message.  Indicate up to n messages beginning with (or
       ending  with)  message num. The value of num may be any of
       the MH message keywords: first, prev, cur, next, or  last.
       Specify  the first, previous, next, or last n messages, if
       they exist.

       MH software offers many other options,  such  as  creating
       multiple  folders  for different topics, and automatically
       refiling messages according to subject,  source,  destination,
 or content. The following MH reference pages provide
       information on the specified topics: Extracting  addresses
       from  message headers Listing mail aliases Annotating messages
 Exploding digests into messages Composing a  message
       Redistributing  a  message  to  additional  addresses Setting/listing
 the current folder/message Listing all  folders
  Forwarding  messages  Incorporating  new mail Marking
       messages Producing formatted listings of MH messages Sending
 or reading mail Printing full pathnames of MH messages
       and folders Checking for messages  Running  the  MH  shell
       Showing  the next message Compressing a folder into a single
 file Selecting messages by content Showing the  previous
  message  Prompting editor front end Incorporating new
       mail  asynchronously  Filing  messages  in  other  folders
       Replying  to a message Removing a folder Removing messages
       Producing a one line per message scan  listing  Sending  a
       message  Receiving  mail  hooks Showing (listing) messages
       Sorting messages Using the prompting  front-end  for  send
       Reporting who will receive a message when it is sent Using
       the alias file for the MH message system Using the  format
       file  for  the  MH message system Using the message format
       file for the MH message system Using the  user  customization
  for  the MH message system Using the systemwide customization
 for the MH message system Running  the  program
       that  parses  addresses  in  RFC  822-style  Searching for
       alias/password conflicts Running the program  that  parses
       dates in RFC 822-style Initializing the MH environment for
       a system Running the backend processor for the  send  command

   Internationalization (I18N) Features    [Toc]    [Back]
       The  default mail interchange code in the United States is
       based on using only 7 bits of each byte to represent  each
       character.  To provide full support for European languages
       other than English, MH software must reserve  the  full  8
       bits  of  each  byte for character representation. Support
       for 8-bit code in mail is enabled by the system manager as
       part  of  the  configuration process for worldwide support

       In Asian countries, there are a variety of coded character
       sets  (codesets)  that  are  used  for interchange of mail
       between systems and for processing by local  applications.
       Most  of these codesets require more than one byte to represent
 each character. For Asian languages, the  MH  software
  therefore  supports  codeset conversion of mail messages
 between the mail interchange codeset and the  user's
       application  codeset. For example, if the mail interchange
       codeset at sites in Japan is ISO-2022-JP  and  the  user's
       application  codeset  is  eucJP, the next command needs to
       convert the next message to eucJP  before  displaying  the
       message.  Otherwise,  Japanese  characters  do not display

       Codeset conversion is controlled through entries in  various
 files, command options, and variable settings that are
       associated with MH software. The  conversion  is  actually
       done     by     converters     that    reside    in    the
       /usr/lib/nls/loc/iconv directory. Each converter  supports
       a  single from_code and to_code conversion that is identified
 in the converter name.  For  example,  the  converter
       that  supports conversion from the ISO-2022-JP mail interchange
 codeset to the eucJP user  application  codeset  is
       named  ISO-2022-JP_eucJP. Codeset conversion works only if
       converters are available for the mail interchange and user
       application  codesets  that  apply  to  the message and if
       those converters are installed. (Converters are  installed
       from  optional  language-specific  subsets).  Refer to the
       iconv_intro(5) reference page for more  information  about
       codeset conversion.

       By  default,  to eliminate risk of data loss, the inc command
 stores incoming mail messages in mail folders without
       codeset  conversion.  In this case, the codeset conversion
       is performed later when you display  or  extract  messages
       from  mail  folders.  If you want codeset conversion to be
       performed at the time messages are stored in folders,  you
       can  specify  the -conv option on the inc command line. To
       ensure correct codeset conversion in some Asian countries,
       you  may  need  to  use  the inc -conv inshdr command when
       incoming messages do not include a Content-Type  entry  in
       the  header.  Refer  to the inc(1) reference page for more
       information on the -conv option.

       To include mail interchange codeset information in  outgoing
  mail messages, the MH software adds new header lines.
       For example, if ISO-2022-JP is the mail interchange  code,
       the following header lines are added to outgoing messages:

       Mime-Version:      1.0      Content-Type:      TEXT/PLAIN;

       For non-ISO codesets, the software adds the prefix "X-" to
       the codeset name for identification purposes. For example,
       if  the  codeset  is eucJP, the following header lines are
       added to the message:

       Mime-Version:  1.0  Content-Type:  TEXT/PLAIN;  charset=XeucJP

       For incoming mail, MH software uses the following settings
       (in the order listed) to determine  the  mail  interchange
       codeset:  The  value specified for charset in the ContentType:
 header line, if present in the incoming message  The
       default  systemwide  mail interchange codeset as specified
       in the /usr/lib/mail-codesets file

              This file must be created by the system administrator
  and  contains one line that is the name of the
              systemwide mail interchange codeset. For example:


              When parsing the mail-codesets file, the  MH  software
  ignores  comment  lines (lines beginning with
              #), blank lines,  and  leading  or  trailing  white
              space around the codeset name.  The first line that
              is not a comment or blank line is assumed to  specify
 the systemwide mail interchange codeset.

       The  MH  software  does  not perform codeset conversion on
       incoming mail if neither of  these  settings  specifies  a

       For outgoing mail, MH software uses the following settings
       (in the order listed) to determine  the  mail  interchange
       codeset:  The EXCODE environment variable The profile component
 excode defined in $HOME/.mh_profile The content  of

       MH  software  determines the user application codeset from
       the codeset part of locale name settings for the following
       variables and file entries (listed in order of high to low
       precedence): The  LC_ALL  environment  variable  The  LANG
       environment variable The profile component lang defined in

RESTRICTIONS    [Toc]    [Back]

       You cannot create folder names that are made  up  of  only

FILES    [Toc]    [Back]

       Directory containing commands MH library

[ Back ]
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