Post by Larry Alkoff
I tried your script and it worked to create an mbox like file.
Amazing that it's so easy to do and that all my googling didn't turn up "formail".
Formail/procmail are sort of a swiss army knife for mail. They can be
employed to do a lot of things they weren't specifically designed for.
Post by Larry Alkoff
In the created mbox file, each
9 08:55:03 2004
Is this a proper mbox format?
I've looked at a few mbox files and the From lines I've seen all start with "From " then the email address, then date-time.
I think that the difference you're asking about is just the
"sentto-2577139-187-985364714-" part, and that the ">From" and the
newline in the date are just artifacts. (I mention this just to
check that I'm right.) In that case, this looks OK to me.
The "From " line contains the envelope address -- the address used in
the SMTP transaction. This address can differ from the From: address in
the header. That's permissible and useful.
The complicated return address is associated with a bounce processor on
the sending computer. The method is known as "VERP" -- variable envelope
reply processing, IIRC. It assigns a unique tag to each outbound
message, so that on a bounce, the list server can identify precisely
which outbound address triggered the bounce, through arbitrary layers of
So, if you forwarded ***@mindspring.com to, say,
***@earthlink.net, and then your earthlink account expired,
the mail would bounce at Earthlink's server. But because of the VERP
address, the list server would know that the address on its list
is ***@mindspring.com, even though the bounce message says
that ***@earthlink.net is the bad address. Then it could take
appropriate action on your list membership despite having inaccurate
information in the bounce.
You'll see this for many list memberships. Formail didn't invent it out
of nothing, it just found that information in the Maildir and created a
"From " line that replicates it. For direct mail from person to person,
you probably won't see that kind of thing unless the sender's mail
system is trying to be very clever.
(I'm supposing a little bit here about how onelist.com's list software
works, but it seems reasonable. Full headers for a message would tell
It's also worth note that the "From " line probably doesn't matter,
anyway, as long as there's something address-like there. Generally these
are ignored once they're in the mbox file; they're mostly useful just
for tracing a message's path through SMTP. For mutt's purposes, only the
From: header matters.
Does that answer your question?
-D. ***@uchicago.edu NSIT::ENSS
No money, no book. No book, no study. No study, no pass.
No pass, no graduate. No graduate, no job. No job, no money.
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