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Re: [bug-mailutils] mail(x) message status bugs (with patch)

From: Paul Vojta
Subject: Re: [bug-mailutils] mail(x) message status bugs (with patch)
Date: Sat, 21 Mar 2009 18:26:09 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/

On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 10:57:49AM +0200, Sergey Poznyakoff wrote:
> Hi Paul,
> > 2.  Assuming there are no preserve, mbox, save, etc. commands, a message
> >     in the inbox should only be moved to the mbox if it was read during
> >     *this* invocation of mail.
> I did not find any such requirement in POSIX.  It says that
>    "As messages are read, they shall be marked to be moved to a
>    secondary file for storage, unless specific action is taken."
> but there is no mentioning whether this applies to the messages read in
> this session or earlier.  Although from the logical point of view this
> seems sound.

That particular passage seems to be saying that they will be moved when
the user quits mailx (or does a folder command).

More generally, the mailx spec refers in several places to "messages that
have been processed by" certain commands, but it never says whether it
means that they have been processed in this invocation of mailx, or that
they have been processed at some time since they were written.

I thought long and hard about this question, and I believe that all
such references mean that the message has been so processed during this
invocation of mailx.  My reasoning was as follows:

 o  The description of the "preserved" status says, "The message has
    been processed by a 'preserve' command."  If this referred to all
    invocations of mailx, then upon startup all read messages in the system
    mailbox would be in status "preserved".  This is not the case with any
    version of mailx that I've ever used.

 o  I'm assuming that the spec is consistent in this regard, so I believe
    that all instances of "message has been processed by" refer only to
    the current invocation of mailx.

 o  The description of the "unread" status, which certainly refers to
    previous as well as current invocations of mailx, does not use the
    "processed by" language, but instead says, "has not been viewed by
    the user...".


> > 4.  In all other versions of mailx that I've used, old messages that had 
> > been
> >     read already are indicated in from/header lines with ' ' as the status,
> >     not 'R'.  I find this more useful, since there are tons of such messages
> >     in my inbox and this allows all other messages to stand out more.
> Well, yes, but given that all previous versions of MU mail were using
> this mark, we cannot simply get rid of it.  There may be some people
> around there who's got used to it (as, e.g. yours faithful is:]), or who are
> relying on it in their scripts (actually, that was the main reason for
> introducing this mark).  I will make the exact appearance of the read
> mark configurable via a special mail variable.
> > I have attached a patch, and hope that you will consider including it in
> > the next release of the Gnu mailtools.

Keep in mind that I wasn't getting rid of 'R'.  I only restricted it to
messages that had been read during the current mailx session.

> Thanks a lot, I surely will.  But you meant GNU mailutils, of course :)

Yes, of course.


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