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Re: [Nmh-workers] Does anyone remember how blind aliases used to work?

From: Joel Reicher
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] Does anyone remember how blind aliases used to work?
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2007 07:17:47 +1000

> >There is a sample line in the mh-alias man page which doesn't appear
> >to be supported anymore:
> >b-people: Blind List: bill, betty;
> >Doing "ali -list b-people" gives
> >Blind List: bill
> >betty;
> That's what I get with 1.0.4 (I used a different aliases entry, but
> got the equivalent result).
> >Does anyone remember how this is supposed to work, if it ever did?
> >The current man page for mh-alias is self-contradictory in this
> >respect; the grammar gives no special status to a second ":" or
> >line-terminating ";".
> The man page assumes familiarity with RFC822 groups lists.
> The format for these is
>       comment : address [, address]* ;
> If you mail to "b-people", using your example, the "To:" is supposed
> to be expanded to:
>       To: Blind List:bill, betty;
> Then "send" (or is it "post") will generate a recipient list of
> "bill" and "betty", and remove everything between ":" and ";" on the
> "To:" line.

Ah, the penny's dropped. The mh-alias syntax is not supposed to know
anything about this at all, and in fact the bug report I referred to
in my original email is more like a misfeature report.

The MH aliasing mechanism splits only on ",", treats the first and last
entries literally, which causes them not to be expanded, but it is
exactly this literal treatment which leads "post" (I'm guessing)
to do the desired parsing of the group list.

I think this should be explained in the mh-alias man page, at the very
least, and I'll put something in there, but if I'm right about what's
going on (and I'll check it thoroughly) a code change would not be
appropriate for the 1.3 release because it would probably be a change
to the mh-alias syntax.


        - Joel

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