Previous Next Contents

7. Mail "user agents"

This section contains information related to "user agents", which means the software the user sees and uses. This software relies on the "transport agents" mentioned above. Many other mail "User Agents" are available now (pine, mush ...) but I haven't found any linux-specific information to tell on them. Please tell me if I'm missing something !

7.1 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.

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 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, 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 (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...

7.2 Mailx

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.

7.3 Other user agents

The following also are known to run under Linux. Consult "archie" for details regarding how to find them...

Previous Next Contents