SUMMARY solaris2.4 /bin/mail and From in body

From: Ron Stanonik (
Date: Thu Feb 15 1996 - 16:44:30 CST

> If email contains "From " as the first word in the body,
> /bin/mail in solaris2.4 doesn't seem to change it to
> ">From". This causes some mail readers to interpret
> it as a message separator. Are we overlooking something

Yes, we overlooked Casper Dik's solaris faq! (Still couldn't
find this in sun-managers-summaries though.)

Solaris /bin/mail doesn't change "From " to ">From ", instead
it adds a Content-Length: header. So, "From " marks the start
of the message, but the end must be computed using the Content-Length:
header, rather than searching for the next "From " (which
could be in the body). Solaris sendmail does have an E mailer
flag which will change "From " to ">From".

Thanks to (Stephen Harris),,
and Casper Dik <casper@holland.Sun.COM>.

Ron Stanonik

From: (Stephen Harris)
I think it's a "bug" - it's an error in the file where the
local delivery mailer doesn't have the correct attribute flag.
Umm, in /var/mail/ look for the line beginning Mlocal
In there is a bit starts F=
These are mailer flags. My Solaris 2.4 didn't have E as part of these flags.
I added it. This instructs sendmail to convert From to >From
Once you have fixed this, kill off and restart the sendmail daemon.

From: (Kevin Sheehan {Consulting Poster Child})
A royal pain, but it has a fix - from a previous summary:
Thanks to the following people who pointed out that the fix is in the
/etc/mail/ file and that I should add the 'E' flag to the
local mailer spec so that it reads like so:
Mlocal, P=/bin/mail, F=flsSDFMmnPE, S=10, R=20, A=mail -d $u
David St. Pierre <> (Brett Lymn)
some of you seemed to think that the E flag is ignored, however, the
above changed worked for me. Others pointed out that there is a
Context-Length and Context-Type header, however, I use emacs's vm
package which doesn't know about these headers.

From: Casper Dik <casper@holland.Sun.COM>
The messages are split with a "Content-Length" header, and not
on "From" lines. Use a mailreader that supprots it or
switch the feature off (needed if you use non-Solaris clietns).
The solaris FAQ says:
5.19) When reading mail on non-Solaris clients of a Solaris mail
    server, or with non-Solaris mail readers, some messages get split
    into multiple messages.

    Solaris 2.x uses the "Content-Length:" header to tell the MUAs
    where messages should be split. Unfortunately, no-one else
    understands this convention. Instead, the old convention, ``split
    on "From " lines'' is used most of the time. Those mail readers
    expect extra lines with "From" to be escaped with ">".

    Workaround: add "E" to the mailerflags of the local mailer.
    Edit /etc/mail/ on your Solaris machines, add E to
    F= on the line that reads:

    Mlocal, P=/bin/mail, F=flsSDFMmnP, S=10, R=20, A=mail -d $u

    so that it becomes:

    Mlocal, P=/bin/mail, F=EflsSDFMmnP, S=10, R=20, A=mail -d $u

6.13) I have problems compiling MH 6.8.3

    The MH config file for Solaris that comes with MH 6.8.3 should work
    OK, but there's some other problems: One of the Solaris 2.x headers
    conflicts with mhn.c and inc doesn't know how to separate messages
    based on the Content-Length header. A fix for both problems can be found

    --- end of excerpt from the FAQ

Questions marked with a * or + have been changed or added since
the FAQ was last posted

The most recently posted version of the FAQ is available from in directory /pub/solaris

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