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Re: lynx-dev Re: external mail programs

From: Eduardo Chappa L.
Subject: Re: lynx-dev Re: external mail programs
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 02:56:15 -0800 (PST)

*** Klaus Weide wrote in the Lynx list today:

:) > my idea is that pine users can use pine to compose messages in
:) > lynx, rather than lynx users use pine to compose messages - I hope that
:) > explains why I never really submitted the patch).
:) That's too metaphysical for me, or something.

When you press return you are forcing to a lot of users to use "lynx
mailer" instead of any other mailer (mailer = MUA). It is nice to have the
ability to open something different, maybe something system-wide or per
user configured. I thought that pine users would like to use pine to
compose their messages in lynx, instead of forcing lynx users to use pine
(which they may not know). I hope this makes clear what I meant.

:) > I had not thought about
:) > the fact that things like including the original article/page were lost,
:) > but you are right, and that has a fix, which I expect will be easy.
:) I'm afraid not so easy - maybe not a problem if you have just pine
:) in mind (and just a certain version & above) and just Unix (I don't
:) know the calling convention but you probably do, if there is one).
In pine 4.xx the command

pine -url mailto:address@hidden:hello?Cc:address@hidden < file

enters pine ready to compose a message whose text comes from file and with
the data correctly entered to it.

:) > My only real point here is that users should have the option of
:) > configuring which mailer to use. 
:) Sure, in principle I agree.  Who wouldn't?  The devil lies in the details,
:) lots of them.

Great, I guess this is a good starting point.

:) I could start asking what those words you use mean.  What is a 'mailer'?
:) (MUA? MTA? more? less?)  And what kind of 'use' are you thinking of?
:) (For what - sending a new initially empty message? replying to a page
:) with quoting? do full folder management while running 'under' another
:) program?).  And what kind of 'configuring'?  (Apparently setting up
:) an EXTERNAL: line in lynx.cfg is not acceptable in your opinion, but
:) it IS a way of 'configuring which mailer to use'.)

I do not see why you ask this. We all have the external command today,
nobody has complained that it does too much or too little for you in terms
of mail. Today you can open your mailer to check your mail using the Jump
command (assuming certain compilation options). It is for me acceptable to
use a configuration of the kind like in the EXTERNAL command. I can think
of something like:

/usr/bin/pine -url %s < %S

where %s is the address and %S is the text (empty if I do not want to
include it, which I assume lynx asked me), or alternatively I can make it
to be a script, with certain parameters, something like

/path/to/script %s %S

with the same meaning of %s and %S, and let the script figure out the
details of how to compose the message. There are a lot of possibilities in

:) > Browsers like Opera allow you to do so,
:) > for example, as I read today in a web page.
:) Given just that statement ('Opera allows you to configure which mailer
:) to use' or similar), I don't really know more than before.  See
:) questions above.  Seems a statement fuzzy enough to have just
:) marketing value.

What I mean is that there are examples of other browsers that allow you to
do something that for me is as obvious as for you must be configuring an
image viewer in your mailcap file.

:) > Although this does not seem to
:) > be of great importance in a browser for some of you. I believe that today
:) > a mailer and a web browser are the two most used internet products. It
:) > would be nice if both of these products allow you to open by default
:) > the other one.
:) Part of the problem is, there is no standard (portable) definition of what
:) 'opening' is.  There is no given interface to 'a mailer' that you can
:) more or less rely on to be there.  About the only thing that's kind of
:) standard (but not always) in the Unix world is the sendmail interface (not
:) SENDMAIL.EXE), and that's what lynx is using.
:) > My mailer certainly can be configured to open my default
:) > browser, 
:) Well, there seems to be a kind of regular way to call a browser for
:) a given URL ('open'), and that's 'pass the URL on the command line'.
:) I don't know that there's a similar reliable/universal convention for 
:) 'mailers'.  You'd want to pass different kinds of things anyway -
:) recipients, folders, a file to send, to name a few, depending on
:) what you use the 'mailer' for.

You don't need a convention, you need a script. I do not see a problem
here. When there is a convention (if ever) we will forget of the
script. But this should not be difficult. Actually in the help for
configuration there may be examples for typical mailers of how to use it
with lynx. That won't add much to the distribution source of this program.

:) > without me needing to do anything different from what I normally
:) > do and that's what I expect of my browser with respect to my mailer too.
:) So it's all a matter of using <Enter> vs. '.'?

You make it sound silly, but your first impulse is to follow what you
normally do (or I least I and some other people do), and we press return,
then we figure out that we need to press ^G and try again. And so on for
several different opportunities. I have even insisted on using lynx mailer
and lost my work because I did not find a way at that time to save it to
postpone my message. I do not say there is no way to save it,
just that it is not obvious enough. Just pressing one key in my
mailer would have done the job. Probably this must have happened to many
people, who would not have had a problem otherwise.

Dear Klaus,

  I do understand that this feature in lynx improves it, I can not imagine
how in the world could lynx be worse with it. I wish we were talking about
how to implement it, and not if we are going to implement it. You see, I
think that in this world there would be so many people that would
beneficiate of having this feature that a big opposition of few people
should not prevail. I wish everyone gave an opinion about this, so as to
have an idea about the desirability of this feature.


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