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Re: unrmail

From: Jonathan Kamens
Subject: Re: unrmail
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 19:27:47 +0000 (UTC)

Kevin Rodgers <address@hidden> writes:
>Jonathan Kamens wrote:
>> No, it's not doing the right thing.  The Unix "From " message
>> separator is supposed to contain the date the message was
>> received.
>Where is that documented?

I doubt it's documented anywhere "official".  The UNIX mbox
format was spawned long, long ago, when there was no need for
such documentation because all the people writing software to
use the format sat in the same building, saw each other every
day at work, and went out for beers together afterwards.

A brief search revealed a man page for the format at
This man page looks like it might have come from the qmail
distribution, which would mean that it was written long, long
after the mbox format was first defined and used.

>> When reconstructing the "From " header, software
>> should make its best guess about that date, e.g., by using
>> the "Date:" header in the message.
>But that's redundant.

It wasn't redundant in its ORIGINAL form, because the "From "
date reflected when the message was RECEIVED, which might be
different from what's in the Date: header.  However, when
reconstructing a "From " line which has been lost, the most
reasonable thing to do is to use the Date: header to achieve
some semblance of normalcy.

>> I submitted a Perl script called b2m.pl to the maintainers of
>> Emacs a year ago.  This script does a much better, faster job
>> of converting Babyl files to UNIX mbox files.  Unfortunately,
>> they didn't include the script in Emacs 21.3; I don't know
>> why.
>Bummer.  Maybe they don't want to depend on Perl being installed?

It's an optional script, so that isn't really an issue, and
besides, who doesn't have Perl nowadays :-).  I think they
weren't planning on including it in a release until Emacs 22.

>What does this mean:
>Can't locate warnings.pm in @INC

It means that you have a very old and/or broken version of
Perl and need to upgrade.  The "warnings" pragma has been
supported by Perl since version 5.6.0, which was released in
March 2000, over three years ago.


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