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modifying movemail

From: Florian von Savigny
Subject: modifying movemail
Date: 19 Jun 2004 12:27:30 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.2

Rmail mode uses a small C program, movemail (movemail.exe on Win32),
to move mail from a spool file in Unix mbox format to an rmail file.

The problem I've got with it is actually a feature: it uses some kind
of file locking mechanism to prevent the spool file being accessed by
the mail fetching program at the same time. As strace has told me,
this seems to use some kind of link, but I don't even know if symbolic
or hard. In any case, this seems to be the reason why the spool file
cannot be on a FAT32 partition: movemail will get into an endless
cycle, trying over and over again to create some link, which the
kernel refuses with never-ending patience.

The reason why this is a problem is that I use both Emacs versions on
a dual-boot system (GNU/Linux and Win32), making it desirable to have
the spool files accessible under both OSes, and this is only possible
on a FAT32 partition.

>From what I said above, it seems evident that movemail.exe cannot
possibly use the same kind of file locking system as movemail (it
might be Win32 never permits two processes to modify the same file at
the same time, making any further measures superfluous, but who
knows). Since both appear to be compiled from the same source, I have
had a look at them, hoping to "disable" the file locking mechanism in
some way.

This seems, however, no trivial task, as so much in the emacs sources
understandably has multiple dependencies, and I haven't been able to
sort out the crucial difference between compiling movemail.c for Win32
and for Linux.

Could anybody provide guidance for me here? Or is the very idea flawed
in some way? I am well aware disabling the file locking mechanism
means in fact creating an unsafe program (or crippling it, as some
would probably put it), but this would pose no danger to my system as
it is set up. But it would spare me numerous reboots.


Florian v. Savigny

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