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       maildist, mailhelp, maillist, mailpatch - mailagent’s commands


       maildist address system [ version ]
       mailhelp [ address ]
       maillist [ address ]
       mailpatch address system version patchlist


       These  commands are not intended to be run directly by a user. They may
       appear in any mail whose subject is set to Command. Such a mail will be
       processed  by  the mailagent(1), which will extract all lines beginning
       with @SH, followed by one of the above commands.  The  mailagent  first
       sets environment variables that will be used by every commands.

       Maildist is used to mail a whole distribution to the given address. The
       version number may be ommitted if the system has no  version  specified
       !!   Maildist  looks  for  the  Spool/distribs  file  to find where the
       distribution is located.  If  it  has  been  archived,  the  file  name
       extension is used to guess how the archive will be restored:

       .cpio     archive is a cpio archive
       .tar      archive is in tar format
       .cpio.Z   compressed cpio archive
       .tar.Z    compressed tar archive

       Note that on file systems with short file names, the final .Z extension
       could be dropped. Therefore, compressed archives  must  be  explicitely
       stated in the Spool/distribs file.

       Once  the  directory  is  found  (or  extracted),  maildist looks for a
       .package file. If one is found, then it is assumed this distribution is
       under  control  of  the  dist 3.0 package, and the makedist commmand is
       called to actually mirror the source tree (makedist being part of  dist

       Otherwise,  it  looks  for  a  MANIFEST file. If it finds one, only the
       files listed therein will be sent. Otherwise, all  the  files  will  be
       sent,  excepted  the  binary executables and object files, the RCS sub-
       directories or RCS files, the private U subdirectory and  the  .package
       file, any core file or files in a bugs subdirectory.

       Then,  the  following  algorithm  is used: if no RCS file is found, the
       file is sent as-is. Otherwise, we look for a defined ’lastpat’  symbol.
       If  it  is  found,  the corresponding revision is checked-out and sent.
       Otherwise, the last-revision  on  the  default  branch  is  exctracted,
       provided that the corresponding working file is not found.

       The  maildist  command  will not work if the system is tagged as an old
       one (with an o in the patches column of the distribs file).  A  message
       will  be  sent  back  to  the  user,  explaining  that only patches are

       Mailhelp sends help to the address (if ommitted, the return path of the
       mail  is  used).  The  help text is found in Spool/agenthelp. It should
       have been correctly set in the installation procedure, as explained  in
       the mailagent(1) manual page.

       Maillist  sends  the  list  of  available  distributions,  with current
       patchlevels if necessary. The Spool/distribs and  Spool/proglist  files
       are both used to build the list.

       Mailpatch  sends one or more patches for a maintained distribution. The
       directory or the archive is found by scanning Spool/distribs. The  bugs
       sub-directory  must then hold the available patches. The patches may be
       stored in compressed form (with the  ending  .Z),  as  mailpatch  knows
       about them and will uncompress the patch before sending.

       Patches  for  old  systems  are kept in a separate directory, either in
       normal or in compressed form. If the version number of the  old  system
       is  x.y,  then  the  directory must be named bugs-x.y and placed in the
       root directory of the system, just like bugs is.

       Whenever the user asks for an old system, mailpatch  inserts  a  little
       note giving the latest version number for that system.


       For  a  more  accurate  description  of these commands (user’s point of
       vue), you may want to have a look at the help  file  or  send  help  to
       yourself using the mailhelp command.


       When the author of a package wishes to relinquish all maintenance duty,
       he is most often stuck by the weight of  the  past:  Configure  scripts
       have  his  e-mail address hardwired (see unit MailAuthor.U) and Command
       messages for package registration and/or patch requests  will  continue
       to reach him.

       The  answer  to  that  is  to  leave  a .forward file at the top of the
       package tree and commands will automatically  forge  new  requests  and
       forward  them  to  the  address  listed  in  the .forward file. Now the
       recipient surely needs a mailagent  at  the  other  end  to  deal  with
       forwarded requests!

       Only  plain  e-mail  address(es)  are  allowed  in  the  .forward.  The
       "|command" processing hook is not supported, since  it’s  not  sendmail
       which interprets that file but the command itself.

       Forwarding applies to maildist, mailpatch and package commands only.


       ~/.mailagent        configuration file for mailagent.
                           directory holding templates and samples.
       Spool/agenthelp     help file
       Spool/distribs      distribution list
       Spool/proglist      comments for available distributions
       Spool/plsave        records patchlevel of archived distributions
       Log/agentlog        mailagent’s log file


       The  proglist  file  ought  to  make  a  distinction  between different
       versions of a same system.


       Raphael Manfredi <>


       mailagent(1), package(1).