SUMMARY - nfs & biff

From: Roger Burroughes (
Date: Tue Jun 05 1990 - 06:00:54 CDT

        Thanks to everyone who helped out on this one - it seems that the
problem has been solved in different ways, both at the system level and
the user level.


        SUN cluster with one mail server. All mail gets delivered to the
server, and each mail client mounts the server's /var/spool/mail partition
locally. How are users notified that new mail has arrived if they are not
logged on to the server?


        There were several solutions suggested - including using alternative
software such as elm, and custom-written programs, as well as using the MAIL
and mail shell variables to check a user's mail box at specified intervals.

        The solution I adopted was a replacement for biff and comsat called
rbiff, and it seems to work quite well. I believe it was written by:

> Steven Grimm (

and I am grateful to:

> "John A. Murphy" <>
> "Andy Sherman" <andys%com.att.ulysses@com.att.inet>

for bringing it to my attention.

        It was also pointed out by <tadguy@gov.nasa.larc.abcfd01> that comsat
is a security hole. A new version of comsat is provided as part of the
rbiff package, although I will admit that I don't know whether this issue was
dealt with in the new version.

        I'd also like to thank the following for their advice and offers of
help, which is much appreciated, and thank those others not explicitly
mentioned as well.

> phil@edu.wustl.wubios
> rowe@gov.nist.cme
> vasey%com.mcc@com.mcc

        I hope that this is at least sufficient to point folks with the same
problem in the right direction. If anything is unclear, I'm willing to expand
on the problem and solution via e-mail.

Roger Burroughes Phone: +44 31 667 1011 x6651 | University of Edinburgh
UUCP: ...!uunet!mcvax!ukc!its63b!cogsci!roger | Centre for Cognitive Science
ARPA:| 2 Buccleuch Place
JANET: | Edinburgh EH8 9LW Scotland

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