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Re: [Nmh-workers] profile lookup

From: Ken Hornstein
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] profile lookup
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 23:26:55 -0400

>But it appears that any option that I want to have two possible
>entries for, I need to *always* use the $MHSHOW option to select my
>profile?  That seems ... like overkill.
>So what am I missing?  What is the proper way to have a default option,
>with an override that I want to use only occasionally?

You're not missing anything.  Pretty much everyone agrees this is backwards.

To give you some history ... the guy who implemented this feature
was the original guy who forked nmh (Richard Coleman).  We can't ask
him why it was this way, because he's long gone (well, as far as I
know he's still alive, he's just not doing nmh anymore).  Now did he
MEAN for .mh_profile to override $MHSHOW?  I suspect not; I think he
didn't realize how the profile reading functions work.  There's been a
number of people who have worked on nmh since then, so some historical
knowledge has been lost.  I don't think this was general knowledge until
very recently, actually.  I only discovered it earlier this month here:


Others may have known this before me, of course.  It was only documented
right before 1.6 was released.

So everyone agrees this sucks.  The problem is that we discovered this
VERY late in the 1.6 release cycle; it had been that way since the dawn
of nmh.  I don't think anyone thought that it was a bug that merited a
change at this point in the release cycle (ironically, I think this was
only noticed because we finally managed to improve mhshow in 1.6 to make
it generally useful).

So, right now, the only way to make it work is as you've discovered;
always use $MHSHOW.  I am sure this will be fixed for the next nmh
release (when that will happen, I do not know; hopefully it will be
sooner than 2 years, but I can't make any promises).  I suspect a patch
will be generated much sooner than that; if you're up to it, you could
apply that to 1.6 when we develop it.


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