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Scriptable email client on Linux

The MH message handling system is a set of electronic mail programs in the public domain. If your computer runs Unix, it can probably run MH.The big difference between MH and most other "mail user agents" is that you can use MH from a Unix shell prompt.

In MH, each command is a separate program, and the shell is used as an interpreter. So, all the power of Unix shells (pipes, redirection, history, aliases, and so on) works with MH--you don't have to learn a new interface. Other mail agents have their own command interpreter for their individual mail commands (although the mush mail agent simulates a Unix shell).

Because MH commands aren't part of a monolithic mail system, you can use them at any time; you don't have to start or quit the mail agent. Because you use them from a shell prompt, you can use all the power of the shell. If your shell has time-saving aliases or functions (and most do),you'll be able to use them with MH, of course. And because MH isn't a monolithic mail agent, you can use MH commands in Unix shell scripts, or call them from programs in high-level languages like C. Unlike most mail agents, MH keeps each message in a separate file.The filename is the message number. To rearrange the messages, MH just changes the file names. MH can use standard Unix file system operations such as removing, copying and linking messages. The message files are grouped into one or more folders, which are actually Unix directories. MH is free, powerful, flexible--and the basics are easy to learn.

nmh (new MH) is a powerful electronic mail handling system. It was originally based on version 6.8.3 of the MH message system developed by the RAND Corporation and the University of California. It is intended to be a (mostly) compatible drop-in replacement for MH.

nmh consists of a collection of fairly simple single-purpose programs to send, receive, save, retrieve, and manipulate e-mail messages. Since nmh is a suite rather than a single monolithic program, you may freely intersperse nmh commands with other commands at your shell prompt, or write custom scripts which use these commands in flexible ways.

  • exmh is a TK-based GUI for mh.
  • MH-E is an Emacs interface to mh.
Compatible Software:
  • GNU mailutils, a mostly-compatible MH replacement
  • The mutt email client does a good job with MH folders.
  • UW IMAPd has basic support for reading MH folders.
  • mairix is a full-text mail indexer that understand MH folders.
  • A lot of other compatible tools are listed in section 01.05 ("other MH software") of the MH FAQ


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