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7. User Agent Administration

7.1 Mutt

You should have no problem compiling, installing, or running mutt. Users of qmail can either get the patch or run it with -f flag to read their local mail folder.

If mutt bothers you with an "unknown terminal error" after a distribution upgrading, just recompile it.

7.2 Elm

Elm compiles, installs and runs flawlessly under Linux. For more information, see the elm sources and installation instructions. Elm and filter need to be mode 2755 (group mail) with /var/spool/mail mode 775 and group mail.

Qmail users can get a patch to use nifty qmail features, or will run elm with the -f flag to point to their local mail folder.

One thing you want to be aware of is that if you have Elm compiled to be MIME-able, you need metamail installed and in the standard path or Elm will not be able to read MIME mail you've received. Metamail is available on thumper.bellcore.com and of course via "archie".

If you use a binary distribution, you'll need to create a "/usr/local/lib/elm/elm.rc" file to override the compiled-in hostname and domain information:

        #---------- /usr/local/lib/elm/elm.rc ------------------
        #
        # this is the unqualified hostname
        hostname = myhostname
        #
        # this is the local domain
        hostdomain = subdomain.domain
        #
        # this is the fully qualified hostname
        hostfullname = myhostname.subdomain.domain
        #
        #--------------------------------------------------------

One thing you want to be aware of is that if you have Elm compiled to be MIME enabled, you need metamail installed and in your path or Elm will not be able to read MIME mail you've received. Metamail is available on thumper.bellcore.com and of course via "archie".

In the "too cool to be true" category, there is a distribution of Elm-2.4.24 that is "PGP-aware". To try it, grab the file ftp://ftp.viewlogic.com/pub/elm-2.4pl24pgp3.tar.gz, which is elm2.4.24 with PGP hooks added. You configure and build it the same way you do normal Elm, which means you probably need to add the patches mentioned above. For what it's worth, I run it here and like it a lot. Of course, there must be more recent versions available, including elm-ME+.

While this item is not Linux-specific, it's perceived (wrongly) to be a nagging Elm bug nevertheless. We've heard that Elm sometimes fails with a message that it's unable to malloc() some massive number of bytes. The identified workaround is to remove the post-processed global mail aliases (aliases.dir and aliases.pag).

THIS IS NOT A BUG IN ELM, it's an error in configuration of Elm by whomever you got your binary distribution of Elm from.

Elm has an enhanced and non-compatible, format for aliases ; you need to ensure that the path Elm uses for aliases is different from the path sendmail/smail uses. From the volume of reports of this problem, it's apparent that at least one major distribution 'on the street' has in the past been misconfigured. (from scot at catzen.gun.de (Scot W. Stevenson) )

The current metamail package requires csh for some of its scripts. Failure to have csh (or tcsh) will cause most interesting errors...

7.3 Mailx

If you don't have a local mailx program, save yourself the pain -- just go and grab the mailx kit from Slackware 2.1.0 or later, which has a nice implementation of mailx5.5. If you're into building from sources, mailx v5.5 compiles without patching under Linux if you have "pmake" installed.

If anybody is still using it, I strongly recommend removing the old "edmail" stuff from SLS1.00 and replacing it with mailx.


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