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MAILCAP(4)                           Kernel Interfaces Manual                          MAILCAP(4)



NAME
       mailcap - metamail capabilities file

DESCRIPTION
       The  mailcap  file is read by the metamail program to determine how to display non-text at
       the local site.

       The syntax of a mailcap file is quite simple, at least compared  to  termcap  files.   Any
       line  that  starts  with "#" is a comment.  Blank lines are ignored.  Otherwise, each line
       defines a single mailcap entry for a single content type.  Long lines may be continued  by
       ending them with a backslash character, \.

       Each  individual mailcap entry consists of a content-type specification, a command to exe-
       cute, and (possibly) a set of optional "flag" values.  For example, a very simple  mailcap
       entry (which is actually a built-in default behavior for metamail) would look like this:

       text/plain; cat %s

       The  optional  flags can be used to specify additional information about the mail-handling
       command.  For example:

       text/plain; cat %s; copiousoutput

       can be used to indicate that the output of the 'cat' command may be voluminous,  requiring
       either a scrolling window, a pager, or some other appropriate coping mechanism.

       The "type" field (text/plain, in the above example) is simply any legal content type name,
       as defined by RFC 822.  In practice, this is almost any string.  It  is  the  string  that
       will  be  matched  against  the  "Content-type" header (or the value passed in with -c) to
       decide if this is the mailcap entry that matches the current message.   Additionally,  the
       type  field may specify a subtype (e.g. "text/ISO-8859-1") or a wildcard to match all sub-
       types (e.g. "image/*").

       The "command" field is any UNIX command ("cat %s" in the above example), and  is  used  to
       specify the interpreter for the given type of message.  It will be passed to the shell via
       the system(3) facility.  Semicolons and backslashes within the command must be quoted with
       backslashes.   If  the command contains "%s", those two characters will be replaced by the
       name of a file that contains the body of the message. If it contains "%t', those two char-
       acters  will  be replaced by the content-type field, including the subtype, if any.  (That
       is, if the content-type was "image/pbm; opt1=something-else", then "%t" would be  replaced
       by  "image/pbm".)   If the command field contains  "%{" followed by a parameter name and a
       closing "}", then all those characters will be replaced by the value of the named  parame-
       ter, if any, from the Content-type header.   Thus, in the previous example, "%{opt1}" will
       be replaced by "something-else".  Finally, if the command contains "\%", those two charac-
       ters  will  be  replaced  by a single % character.  (In fact, the backslash can be used to
       quote any character, including itself.)

       If no "%s" appears in the command field, then instead of placing the  message  body  in  a
       temporary file, metamail will pass the body to the command on the standard input.  This is
       helpful in saving /tmp file space, but can be problematic for window-oriented applications
       under some window systems such as MGR.

       Two  special  codes  can  appear in the viewing command for objects of type multipart (any
       subtype).  These are "%n" and "%F".  %n will be replaced by the number of parts within the
       multipart object.  %F will be replaced by a series of arguments, two for each part, giving
       first the content-type and then the name of the temporary file where the decoded part  has
       been stored.  In addition, for each file created by %F, a second file is created, with the
       same name followed by "H", which contains the header information for that body part.  This
       will not be needed by most multipart handlers, but it is there if you ever need it.

       The  "notes=xxx"  field is an uninterpreted string that is used to specify the name of the
       person who installed this entry in the mailcap file.  (The "xxx" may be  replaced  by  any
       text string.)

       The "test=xxx" field is a command that is executed to determine whether or not the mailcap
       line actually applies.  That is, if the content-type field matches the content-type on the
       message,  but  a  "test="  field is present, then the test must succeed before the mailcap
       line is considered to "match" the message being viewed.  The command may be any UNIX  com-
       mand,  using  the  same  syntax  and  the  same  %-escapes  as for the viewing command, as
       described above.  A command is considered to succeed if it exits with a zero exit  status,
       and to fail otherwise.

       The  "print=xxx"  field is a command that is executed to print the data instead of display
       it interactively.  This behavior is usually a consequence of invoking  metamail  with  the
       "-h" switch.

       The  "textualnewlines"  field  can  be  used  in  the rather obscure case where metamail's
       default rules for  treating  newlines  in  base64-encoded  data  are  unsatisfactory.   By
       default,  metamail  will  translate  CRLF to the local newline character in decoded base64
       output if the content-type is "text" (any subtype), but will not do so otherwise.  A mail-
       cap  entry  with a field of "textualnewlines=1" will force such translation for the speci-
       fied content-type, while "textualnewlines=0" will guarantee that the translation does  not
       take place even for textual content-types.

       The  "compose"  field  may  be used to specify a program that can be used to compose a new
       body or body part in the given format.  Its intended use  is  to  support  mail  composing
       agents  that  support  the  composition of multiple types of mail using external composing
       agents. As with the view-command, the compose command will  be  executed  after  replacing
       certain  escape  sequences starting with "%".  In particular, %s should be replaced by the
       name of a file to which the composed data is to be written by the specified composing pro-
       gram,  thus  allowing the calling program (e.g. metamail) to tell the called program where
       to store the composed data.  If %s does not appear, then the composed data will be assumed
       to  be written by the composing programs to standard output.   The result of the composing
       program may be data that is NOT yet suitable for mail transport --  that  is,  a  Content-
       Transfer-Encoding may still need to be applied to the data.

       The  "composetyped"  field  is  similar to the "compose" field, but is to be used when the
       composing program needs to specify the Content-type header field to be applied to the com-
       posed  data.  The "compose" field is simpler, and is preferred for use with existing (non-
       mail-oriented) programs for composing data in a given format.  The "composetyped" field is
       necessary  when  the  Content-type  information must include auxiliary parameters, and the
       composition program must then know enough  about  mail  formats  to  produce  output  that
       includes  the mail type information, and to apply any necessary Content-Transfer-Encoding.
       Conceptually, "compose" specifies a program that simply outputs the specified type of data
       in  its raw form, while "composetyped" specifies a program that outputs the data as a MIME
       object, with all necessary Content-* headers already in place.


       needsterminal
               If this flag is given, the named interpreter needs to interact with the user on  a
               terminal.   In  some  environments  (e.g. a window-oriented mail reader under X11)
               this will require the creation of a new terminal emulation window, while  in  most
               environments  it  will  not.   If  the mailcap entry specifies "needsterminal" and
               metamail is not running on a terminal (as determined by isatty(3), the -x  option,
               and  the MM_NOTTTY environment variable) then metamail will try to run the command
               in a new terminal emulation window.  Currently, metamail knows how to  create  new
               windows under the X11, SunTools, and WM window systems.

       copiousoutput
               This  flag  should  be given whenever the interpreter is capable of producing more
               than a few lines of output on stdout, and does no interaction with the  user.   If
               the  mailcap  entry specifies copiousoutput, and pagination has been requested via
               the "-p" command, then the output of the command  being  executed  will  be  piped
               through  a  pagination program ("more" by default, but this can be overridden with
               the METAMAIL_PAGER environment variable).

BUILT-IN CONTENT-TYPE SUPPORT
       The metamail program has built-in support for a few key content-types.  In particular,  it
       supports  the  text  type,  the  multipart  and  multipart/alternative  type, and the mes-
       sage/rfc822 types.  This support is incomplete for many subtypes -- for example,  it  only
       supports  US-ASCII text in general.  This kind of built-in support can be OVERRIDDEN by an
       entry in any mailcap file on the user's search path.  Metamail also has rudimentary built-
       in  support  for types that are totally unrecognized -- i.e. for which no mailcap entry or
       built-in handler exists.  For such unrecognized types, metamail will write a file  with  a
       "clean"  copy  of the data -- i.e. a copy in which all mail headers have been removed, and
       in which any 7-bit transport encoding has been decoded.

FILES
       $HOME/.mailcap:/etc/mailcap:/usr/etc/mailcap:/usr/local/etc/mailcap --  default  path  for
       mailcap files.

SEE ALSO
       metamail(1)

COPYRIGHT
       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 public-
       ity pertaining to this material without the  specific,  prior  written  permission  of  an
       authorized  representative of Bellcore.  BELLCORE MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE ACCU-
       RACY OR SUITABILITY OF THIS MATERIAL FOR ANY PURPOSE.  IT IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT ANY
       EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES.

AUTHOR
       Nathaniel S. Borenstein



Bellcore Prototype                          Release 2                                  MAILCAP(4)

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