SUMMARY: metamail problems and unsummarized summaries

From: Boyd Johnson (
Date: Fri Oct 08 1993 - 05:10:53 CDT

Thanks for all the support from everyone who was also annoyed at all of
the summaries that just concatenated replies from people. Here are
some comments about that. I got no flames. Could it be the people
that would have flamed me don't bother reading mailing list messages
but just post requests and send back all the replies in a "summary"?
Thanks to the following for support and/or suggestions: (Buddy Mecca)
 csfb1!karl!nachi@uunet.UU.NET (Nachi Muthu)
 Andrew Watson <> (Wolfgang Leideck)
 Len Rose <len@NETSYS.COM> (Dan A. Zambon)
 John Hasley<>
 etnibsd!vsh@uunet.UU.NET (Steve Harris)
 Chip Christian <> (Kevin Sheehan {Consulting Poster Child})
 Bill Hart <> (David Willard) (Robert J. Cronin) (Larry J. Miller) (Ian MacPhedran)
 adiron!tro@uunet.UU.NET (Tom Olin)

Most of my original message:
previously Boyd Johnson wrote:
> I just finished getting around the "sh: metamail: cannot execute" I
> often get on this list, uudecoded an 800 some line 56,000 byte file
> into 56 email messages concatenated together that all said in different
> wording "Try mounting without the -hsfs option".
> Sorry if I seem to be nit-picking too much, but could you PLEASE take a
> few minutes to condense the replies into a coherent summary rather than
> just concatenating everything together so everyone on the list has to
> wade through reams of message headers and virtually duplicate replies?
> Whew! Now that that's off my chest maybe someone knows why elm won't
> read certain "metamail" messages sent to the list? I'll _summarize_. :-)
> Oh, and no offense intended to any particular list member.

Pertinent data from replies [my comments in "[]"'s]

 Hi.. ditch elm and get Zmail!! (smile)

[I'll probably be checking that out soon. A demo copy is available ]
[at, where XXX is your type of machine. ]
[You need to call Z-Code Software Corp. to use the demo copy, though]
[because it needs an activation key. Zmail is a commercial package ]

These are enclosures done with the mailtool. I suppose that it is a
moderately good assumption that people on a sun mail list have access
to `mailtool', but I dislike these things as well. Especially when they
are used to send simple text around.

[Our mail handler is on DEC Ultrix, not Sun, but some people here ]
[use the Sun mailtool. ]

Don't uuencode text!

Uuencode/uudecode is for transferring binary data; text is not binary
data. Using uuencode increases the volume of data to be transferred by
30%. And it forces most recipients to perform handstands to unpack the
message to see if it is of value.

(My rule of thumb is: if somebody is dumb enough to uuencode text,
his/her posting probably is not worth the time to read. ;-)

Just because Sun-Mail (or whatever it's called) uuencodes automatically
doesn't mean the capability should be used blindly. The sysadmin who
respects his/her peers, values their support, and understands the value
of their time will make the effort to assure his/her postings do not
exact unnecessary/wasteful effort on the part of the reader.

Couldn't quite tell if you had metamail or just don't quite have it
set up right. If you don't have it, it is freely available from ( in pub/nsb/mm2.x.tar.Z.
Should fit quite nicely if you have elm 2.4 or above (which it sounds like
you do).

[I just got mm2.6.tar.Z but haven't had a chance to check it out yet. ]
[I have elm 2.4 PL 21. I found that elm 2.3 PL 0 doesn't recognize ]
['metamail' and reads it just like any other message. ]

If you have it, please clue me in if you figure out how to get it to
read Sun attachments... :) It has something to do with the mailcap file...

[There is a metamail mailing list. news.answers "UNIX Email Software ]
[Survey FAQ" has related information. Nothing about Sun attachments. ]
[I downloaded RFC 1343, which describes mailcap files. ]

Most people on this list seem to send mail from mailtool.
I guess if you define the X-Sun-whatevers in mailcap it can
do something reasonable with them. I mean to do the same thing
sometime. I run metamail with andrew messages.

Now we just need a daemon which breaks the
fingers of those who send {un}subscribe messages to the list.

While you are at it, what about those people who continually ask
questions, but seldom summarize!

I'd like to write a little program that matches up questions with
summaries, so that the list-manager can send out a monthly "dead-beat"
report. After 2 consecutive months on the list, all future "dead-beat"
questions would then be held in queue until back-logged summaries are

======= Boyd Johnson <=> San Diego, Ca. <=> =======

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:08:22 CDT