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Re: command line email

On Fri, Jun 29, 2001 at 05:41:05PM -0500, Michael Turner wrote:
> I am looking for command line email that supports attachments. I have looked 
> at the man pages for sendmail and it doesn't look like it supports it.

In mail-land parlance, sendmail is a MTA (Mail Transfer Agent).  It knows
how to send the mail, but doesn't get involved in building the message,
displaying it to the user, etc.  There are several MTAs in common use;
another Unix/Linux-based MTA is qmail.  Sendmail has the preeminent
position on "*n[iu]x" systems because it's old, mature, and very
full-featured.  It also has one of the most arcane and inpenetrable
configuration languages ever devised (mitigated greatly through the
use of macros, but still...) and, because of its complexity, has been
host to a number of exploits over the years.  Still, today, it's pretty
widely accepted as the baseline MTA.

The MUA--Mail User Agent--handles user interactions:  Mailbox parsing,
mail reading and creation, attachment construction.  And there is a
quad-fistfull of them; text-oriented (mutt, elm, pine are good examples),
or GUI-based (Netscape Communicator, Eudora, Outlook) on both Unix/Linux
and Windows platforms.

Note that any number of MUAs can be in concurrent use with any MTA, since
the interaction of the MUA with the MTA consists of manipulation of the
user's message store ("mailbox") and submission of messages for delivery.

For what you want, mutt or pine will probably be the choice.  Mutt is
in active development; I think pine is as well.  Elm works well, but I
believe it's at end-of-life in terms of further development.  In any case,
all will both create new and allow manipulation of delivered attachments.

> Also, does anyone know of a good page that explains how the smtp protocol 
> works(technically/programmatically)? Does that make sense?

I believe others have pointed you to some web pages; I'd suggest going to
the underlying RFCs as well.

> basically I would like to create my own program.

Feel free, and welcome; I've re-invented the wheel a few times myself for
learning purposes.

But be aware that unless you come up with a stunning new paradigm, it's
a lot of work for little probability of adoption in the user community,
if that's where you're going.  There are already a great number of quite
acceptable mature MUA programs, and people are very skeptical of new
MTAs due to their central role in the security model of a system.

Cheers, good luck, and have fun!
	Dave Ihnat
	ignatz dminet com

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