[TUHS] off-topic list

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Tue Jun 26 00:18:29 AEST 2018

On Sat, Jun 23, 2018 at 8:18 PM, Grant Taylor via TUHS <tuhs at minnie.tuhs.org
> wrote:
> What little I know about the MH type mail stores and associated utilities
> are indeed quite powerful.

​Yep, their power and flaw all rolled together actually.     Until I had
Pachyderm on Tru64/Alpha with AltaVista under the covers (which was gmail's
predecessor), I ran a flavor of MH from the time Bruce (Borden - MH's
author) first released it on the 6th edition on the Rand USENIX tape. ​
I'm going to guess for about 25 years.   Although for the last 8-10 years,
I ran a post processor user interface called 'HM' (also from Rand) that was
curses based that split the screen into two.

>   I think they operate under the premise that each message is it's own
> file

​Correct - which is great, other than on small systems it chews up inodes
and disk space which for v6 and v7 could be a problem.   ​But it means
everything was always ASCII and easy to grok and any tool from an editor to
macro processor could be inserted.   It also meant that unlike AT&T "mail",
the division between the MUA and the MTA was first declared by the Rand and
understood in Unix and used in the original UofI ArpaNet code (before
Kurt's delivermail  [sendmail's predecessor] which was part of UCB Mail, or
the MIT mailer ArpaNet hacks that would come later).

BTW: I may have the the original Rand MH release somewhere.  We ran it at
Tektronix on V6 on the 11/60 and then V7 on the TekLabs 11/70, as I brought
it with me.  We hacked the MTA portion to talk smtpd under Bruce's UNET
code to our VMS/SMTPD at some point.

> and that you work in something akin to a shell if not your actual OS shell.

​Exactly.   ​Your shell or emacs if you so desired - whatever your native
system interface was.  HM took the idea a little further to make things
more screen oriented and later versions of MH picked some of the HM stuff
I'm told; but I had started to use Pachyderm - which was search based.

>   I think the MH commands are quite literally unix command that can be
> called from the unix shell.  I think this is in the spirit of simply
> enhancing the shell to seem as if it has email abilities via the MH
> commands.  Use any traditional unix text processing utilities you want to
> manipulate email.

​Absolutely.  I do find myself, pulling things out of gmail, sometimes so I
can do Unix tricks to inbound mail that gmail will not let me do.   And
when I want to do anything really automating on the send side, I have MH
installed and it calls the local MTA.   But I admit, the indexing that
search gives you is incredibly powerful for day to day use and I could not
go back. to MH.
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