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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  MMENCODE (1)


mmencode - Translate to and from mail-oriented encoding formats

(Same program also installed as "mimencode".)


See Also


mmencode[-u] [-b] [-q] [-p] [file name] [-o outputfile]


The mmencode program simply converts a byte stream into (or out of) one of the standard mail encoding formats defined by MIME, the proposed standard for internet multimedia mail formats. Such an encoding is necessary because binary data cannot be sent through the mail. The encodings understood by mmencode are preferable to the use of the uuencode/uudecode programs, for use in mail, in several respects that were important to the authors of MIME.

By default, mmencode reads standard input, and sends a "base64" encoded version of the input to standard output.

The (really not necessary) "-b" option tells mmencode to use the "base64" encoding.

The "-q" option tells mmencode to use the "quoted-printable" encoding instead of base64.

The "-u" option tells mmencode to decode the standard input rather than encode it.

The "-p" option tells mmencode to translate decoded CRLF sequences into the local newline convention during decoding and to do the reverse during encoding. This option is only meaningful when -b (base64 encoding) is in effect.

If a file name argument is given, input is read from that file rather than from standard input.

The "-o" option, which must be followed by a file name, sends output to the named file rather than to standard output.


Mmencode is intended to be a replacement for uuencode for mail and news use. The reason is simple: uuencode doesn’t work very well in a number of circumstances and ways. In particular, uuencode uses characters that don’t translate well across all mail gateways (particularly ASCII <-> EBCDIC gateways). Also, uuencode is not standard -- there are several variants floating around, encoding and decoding things in different and incompatible ways, with no "standard" on which to base an implementation. Finally, uuencode does not generally work well in a pipe, although some variants have been modified to do so. Mmencode implements the encodings which were defined for MIME as uuencode replacements, and should be considerably more robust for email use.


metamail(1), mailto(1)


Copyright (c) 1991 Bell Communications Research, Inc. (Bellcore)

Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this material for any purpose and without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies, and that the name of Bellcore not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to this material without the specific, prior written permission of an authorized representative of Bellcore. BELLCORE MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE ACCURACY OR SUITABILITY OF THIS MATERIAL FOR ANY PURPOSE. IT IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES.


Nathaniel S. Borenstein
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Bellcore Prototype MMENCODE (1) Release 1

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