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Manual Reference Pages  -  DIST (1)


dist - redistribute a message to additional addresses




dist [+folder] [msg] [-form formfile] [-annotate | -noannotate] [-inplace | -noinplace] [-draftfolder +folder] [-draftmessage msg] [-nodraftfolder] [-editor editor] [-noedit] [-width columns] [-from address] [-to address] [-cc address] [-fcc +folder] [-whatnowproc program] [-nowhatnowproc] [-atfile] [-noatfile] [-version] [-help]


Dist is similar to forw. It prepares the specified message for redistribution to addresses that (presumably) are not on the original address list.

The default message form contains the following elements:

Resent-From: {from switch} or <Local-Mailbox> or <username@hostname>
Resent-To: {to switch} or blank
Resent-cc: {cc switch} or blank
Resent-fcc: {fcc switch} or blank

If a file named distcomps” exists in the user’s nmh directory, it will be used instead of this default form. You may specify an alternate forms file with the switch -form formfile. Forms are processed via the nmh template system; see mh-format(5) for details. Components from the redistributed message are available as standard component escapes in the forms file.

In addition to the standard mh-format(5) escapes, the following component escapes are also supported:

Escape Returns Description 
fcc    string  Any folders specified with ‘-fcc folder’
nmh-from       stringAddresses specified with ‘-from address’
nmh-to string  Addresses specified with ‘-to address’
nmh-cc string  Addresses specified with ‘-cc address’

See the forw(1) man page for descriptions of the -from, -to, -cc, and -fcc switches.

If the draft already exists, dist will ask you as to the disposition of the draft. A reply of quit will abort dist, leaving the draft intact; replace will replace the existing draft with a blank skeleton; and list will display the draft.

Only those addresses in Resent-To:”, Resent-cc:”, and Resent-Bcc:” will be sent. Also, a Resent-Fcc: folder” will be honored (see send(1)). Note that with dist, the draft should contain only Resent-xxx:” fields and no body. The headers and the body of the original message are copied to the draft when the message is sent. Use care in constructing the headers for the redistribution.

Because the draft is minimal, the prompter(1) editor is quite useful with dist.

If the -annotate switch is given, the message being distributed will be annotated with the lines:

Resent: date
Resent: addrs
where each address list contains as many lines as required. This annotation will be done only if the message is sent directly from dist. If the message is not sent immediately from dist, comp -use” may be used to re-edit and send the constructed message, but the annotations won’t take place. Normally annotations are done inplace in order to preserve any links to the message. You may use the -noinplace switch to change this.

See comp(1) for a description of the -editor and -noedit switches. Note that while in the editor, with -atfile and if the current directory is writable, the message being resent is available through a link named “@” (assuming the default whatnowproc). In addition, the actual pathname of the message is stored in the environment variable $editalt, and the pathname of the folder containing the message is stored in the environment variable $mhfolder. The creation of the “@” file is controlled via the -atfile and -noatfile options.

The -draftfolder +folder and -draftmessage msg switches invoke the nmh draft folder facility. This is an advanced (and highly useful) feature. Consult the mh-draft(5) man page for more information.

Upon exiting from the editor, dist will invoke the whatnow program. See whatnow(1) for a discussion of available options. The invocation of this program can be inhibited by using the -nowhatnowproc switch. (In truth of fact, it is the whatnow program which starts the initial edit. Hence, -nowhatnowproc will prevent any edit from occurring.)


^/usr/local/etc/nmh/distcomps~^The standard message skeleton
^or <mh-dir>/distcomps~^Rather than the standard skeleton
^$HOME/.mh_profile~^The user profile
^<mh-dir>/draft~^The draft file


^Path:~^To determine the user’s nmh directory
^Current-Folder:~^To find the default current folder
^Draft-Folder:~^To find the default draft-folder
^Editor:~^To override the default editor
^fileproc:~^Program to refile the message
^whatnowproc:~^Program to ask the “What now?” questions


comp(1), forw(1), prompter(1), repl(1), send(1), whatnow(1)


+folder’ defaults to the current folder 
msg’ defaults to cur 


If a folder is given, it will become the current folder. The message distributed will become the current message.


Dist originally used headers of the form Distribute-xxx:” instead of Resent-xxx:”. In order to conform with the ARPA Internet standard, RFC 822, the Resent-xxx:” form is now used. Dist will recognize Distribute-xxx:” type headers and automatically convert them to Resent-xxx:”.


Dist does not rigorously check the message being distributed for adherence to the transport standard, but post called by send does. The post program will balk (and rightly so) at poorly formatted messages, and dist won’t correct things for you.

If whatnowproc is whatnow, then comp uses a built-in whatnow, it does not actually run the whatnow program. Hence, if you define your own whatnowproc, don’t call it whatnow since comp won’t run it.

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nmh-1.6 DIST (1) June 18, 2012

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