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Re: [Nmh-workers] forw

From: Ken Hornstein
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] forw
Date: Sun, 09 Oct 2016 19:57:49 -0400

>I don't recall when attachments first came into nmh, if I ever knew. But I
>don't understand why the feature I talked about was not added to forw at that
>time. Maybe it was because, for some reason I don't understand it is

Weeellll ... it depends what you mean by "attachments".

The more modern 'attach' support is actually relatively recent.  A form
of it has been around in nmh for a while, but it really got standardized
for 1.5 and improved for 1.6.  In terms of display, we started to SLOWLY
know about "attachments" and handling them better in terms of display
only for 1.6.

In MH proper, historically it could handle headers ('components' in
MH-speak) very well.  But the body of a message was treated as a single
text blob.  ONE command existed called mhn which could handle MIME
messages; it displayed, listed, and composed them.  Everything else
was MIME-ignorant.  This is when forw -mime was created; it created a
mhn directive that it could use to compose the forwarded message.

Along came nmh; mhn was split off into other utilities like mhshow,
mhlist, mhbuild, and mhstore (this initial work was done by Richard
Coleman).  This was a slight improvement.  But still, these are mostly
the only utilities that can really parse a MIME message properly.  If
you're not using one of those utilities then your nmh command doesn't
really know about MIME (there are a few exceptions for things like RFC
2047 encoding).

So, forw doesn't do what you expect it to do, because it never really
knew about MIME.  That's the fault of whomever wrote mhn; was that
John Levine?  I mean, I can't really fault him (or whomever it was)
TOO much; as we're discovering, it's a huge job.  Everything is going
to need to be rototilled completely, new APIs are going to need to
be designed ... ugh.  We're going to have to grapple with a lot of
changes.  My eventual hope is that the internal interface to a message
automatically will do MIME parsing and then all commands will do
MIME parsing natively (see my "new MIME architecture" email for
details).  This would, for example, let 'pick' search through
encoded text message bodies.  Here are my thoughts on that regard:


I hope this clears things up a bit.  The short answer is: Unless you're
using mhlist, mhstore, mhshow or mhbuild, your nmh command doesn't know
about MIME.


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