Elm - Monthly Posting from the Elm Development Group

Newsgroups: comp.mail.elm,news.answers,comp.answers
From: syd@dsinc.Myxa.com (Syd Weinstein)
Subject: Monthly Elm Posting from the Elm Development Group
Expires: +1 month
Keywords: monthly elm posting
Approved: news-answers-request@MIT.Edu
Organization: Myxa Corporation, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006-2320
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Sender: syd@Myxa.com (Syd Weinstein)

Archive-name: elm/monthly/part1

This is the monthly Elm Posting from the Elm Development Group and
your Elm Coordinator.  Please send all questions and comments about
this posting or Elm itself to elm@Myxa.com (dsinc!elm).  See the
README section of this posting for info on some Elm 2.4 FAQ's.
In addition, Piero Serini , posts a
FAQ for Elm in comp.mail.elm, news.answers and comp.answers with
the Subject: Elm Mail User Agent FAQ - monthly posting.  Its
archive-name on rtfm.mit.edu is elm/FAQ.

This posting generated: Wed Mar  9 10:13:30 EST 1994
Current release version: Elm 2.4 PL24
	This version was released at patch level 22.
	comp.sources.unix Posting-number: (Not yet posted)
	Archive-name: (Not yet posted)
	Patches are posted to comp.sources.bugs and comp.mail.elm
	After they are stable, patches are sent to comp.sources.unix
		The following patch sets have been posted: NONE
		Archive-name: (No patches yet posted to comp.sources.unix)
	Patches are available from the archive server at Myxa.com:
	send mail to archive-server@Myxa.com
	send elm index

	People have been using the security hole in arepdaem to break
	into their own systems, and grab root access.  As such I request
	that you remove arepdaem and autoreply from your systems.  Since
	their feature is really no longer needed, and better programs
	now exist to handle this in a secure fashion, its not worth
	fixing them.  Instead, they will be dropped from future Elm

Patch 24 is now released and is a bug and portability fix patch only.
It handles the time zone problems and the restoring permissions problems.

Patch 23 is now released and is a bug and portability fix patch only.  It is a patch
and not a re-release again.  While I expected it to be relatively small,
it isn't, its a 5 part patch (23a - 23e) and totals about 460kb.

Note: the archive server will not respond to users names root, daemon,
postmaster or mailer-daemon.  Please use your own login when requesting
information from the archive server.

Planned next version: Elm 3.0
	Current Elm 3.0 status: On Hold
	Expected release date:  UNKNOWN
NOTE: Not much work has been done on 3.0, due to lack of volunteer
effort.  I think the current batch of volunteers is about stressed out
from their experience, I know I am.  Without any new blood or corporate
sponsors, I doubt 3.0 will get very far any time soon.

As of release 2.1, Elm is now being developed by a cooperative venture
of volunteers loosely being called the Elm Development Group.  There are
approximately 40 developers and an additional 16 testers, participating
at various levels of activity.

Comments, bug reports, feature requests, etc.  should be sent to
elm@Myxa.com.  I try to ack most reports, but over 60% fail due to
invalid addresses.  Note, I strip your address to name@fqdn or name@site
before replying.

New releases will be posted to comp.sources.unix, patches will be posted
to comp.sources.bugs.  After patches have been proven and out for a
while, they will be posted to comp.sources.unix.  Patches are available
from the archive server at Myxa.com.  Elm is too large to mail, don't
bother asking.  Also don't mail me asking for me to send you patches, I
won't.  Use the archive server.  The archive-server will not respond to
users named root, daemon, or postmaster to prevent loops.  Please do not
use those names for archive requests.  PLEASE do not send archive
requests to elm@Myxa.com.

For a list of ftp sites, select List of Official Elm FTP Sites

-----------------------------README SECTION-----------------------------
First: See the README file that is part of the Elm Source Distribution.
Many questions might be answered there.

Where do I get the "Elm Reference Guide", "Elm Users Guide", ...
	Elm has several documents (over 100 pages worth of doc)
	that were written to help users install, support and use Elm.
	These are in the doc directory of the source distribution.
	Contact your systems administrator for a copy of the documents.
	For those sites that do not have troff (either di-troff or
	o-troff) and do have postscript printers, dsinc (ftp.Myxa.com)
	has a copy of the docs already in postscript format available
	for anonymous uucp or ftp.

Why do I get the remote signature on replies to local mail?  Can I
define what addresses are local?
	In Elm 2.4, any address with an ! or @ in it is considered
	remote, without those characters, its local.
	Any reply is qualified to prevent alias expansion.  If you had
	an alias in your private Elm aliases that matched the name of a
	user on your system, but that alias did not point to that user,
	there would be no way to reply to the message.  It would end up
	going to the alias name, not the user that mailed you.  To
	prevent this, Elm fully qualifies (adds the site name) to a
	reply address.  This makes the simplistic signature detector
	think that the message is 'remote'. This is not slated to
	change until 3.0.

Why Elm adds your local hosts qualification to reply addresses:
(Or why the DANGER WILL ROBINSON KLUDGE is in the code)
	Elm passes any address off to the alias mapper to see if it
	needs expansion.  If you are replying to a bare user name of
	abc, Elm converts it to abc@localhost.domain (assuming internet
	addressing, myhost!abc for the rest).  This is to prevent the
	alias expansion.  If you were to have, in you private Elm alias
	table an alias of abc that pointer to
	J.Q.Public@somewhere.domain, if the address wasn't qualified,
	Elm would convert the reply to abc to go to
	J.Q.Public@somewhere.domain.  This is generally not what you
	want :-)

	If you can guarantee that no private alias will ever match a
	local user name on your system, then you can disable the kludge
	code.  The kludge will have to remain until 3.0 when Elm will
	track whether an address has been/should be expanded, and its
	prior to and after expansion values.  In 2.x it doesn't do

How can I get elm to NOT expand the alias list on outgoing msgs?
Problem is if a list has, say, 100 names in it then sending to the list
expands every single one of the 100 names. I would like the message to
have the "To" line = the name of the list itself and have the actual
recipients' names not appear.
	You can't and don't want to. (and yet you can also) An alias is
	a mechanism of making Elm address a message to multiple
	people.  However, when the message gets to its destination, Elm
	also has to allow that person do a group reply.  If the message
	only has your local private elm alias in it, the group reply
	will try and go to that alias name.  Unfortunately, that name
	is meaningless to that other person (its private to both Elm
	and you).

	There are two solutions:

	The preferred if replies are desired:
		Have your mail administrator create a file include
		alias for you in your MTA (sendmail, et al).. This is
		usually of the type

	alias	:include:/some/path/to/a/file

	where the file would be in a place you control and you have write access
	to the file.  Then you can add/drop members of the list, and
	the mail just goes to the alias, and, someone sending to
	alias@your.system will be able to send to all members. (group
	reply works correctly)

	The less preferred method: (no group reply is possible)
		Send the message to yourself, with a bcc to the Elm
	Of course, the Bcc: won't be expanded by the MTA internal to
	the message, so it won't appear in the message.

From comp.mail.elm, dws@ssec.wisc.edu (DaviD W. Sanderson) writes:
>... whoever wrote the default termcap
>and/or terminfo descriptions for xterm included in the ti/te strings
>the special escape sequences to make xterm switch between the normal
>and alternate screen buffers.  These sequences are:
>	\E[?47h		- use alternate screen buffer
>	\E[?47l		- use normal screen buffer
>The elm code is just fine as it is.  If you change it so that it
>doesn't ever send ti/te, you'll just break elm for somebody else.  Fix
>your termcap/terminfo definition instead.

Why can't I get SGI to work for non ROOT.....
	SGI, at 3.3, doesn't have vfork, but instead a stub that does
	not work.  Make sure vfork is undef in the configuration.

How do I link Elm on IBM AIX?
	This version of Elm 2.4 should not require any changes
	to the configure run to link under AIX 3.2 or newer.

	On IBM RISC 6000 AIX, prior to 3.2, you might get string
funtion errors on the compile.  The solution is to do the following:
	Look at /usr/lpp/bos/bsdsport. It tells you
	to add following lines to /etc/xlc.cfg
	* BSD 4.3 c compiler stanza
	bsdcc:	use	   = DEFLT
		crt	   = /lib/crt0.o
		mcrt	   = /lib/mcrt0.o
		gcrt	   = /lib/gcrt0.o
		libraries  = -lbsd, -lc
		proflibs   = -L/lib/profiled,-L/usr/lib/profiled
		options	   = -H512,-T512, -qlanglvl=extended, -qnoro, -D_BSD, -D_NONSTD_TYPES, -D_NO_PROTO, -D_BSD_INCLUDES, -bnodelcsect, -U__STR__, -U__MATH__

	And then link bsdcc to xlc and use bsdcc instead of cc.

In addition, Elm should be linked with the curses lib and not termcap lib
if /etc/termcap is not there. (You can always copy the termcap database
to etc (or make a symlink)).

	On 386bsd, the shell that is shipped with the system, ash, does
not work for sending messages within Elm.  Mail messages have headers only
and no body.  Replacing the shell with bash (from GNU) seems to solve the
problem.  The bash shell is in the 'etc' distribution of 386bsd.

Why does my mail to Dave Taylor bounce?
	His new address is limbo!taylor, or, taylor@intuitive.com


Starting with release 2.2, the Elm Development group will attempt to
provide official patches to the release version to fix problems reported
at the same time we are working on the next release.  Also starting with
release 2.2 a list of known problems will be published in this posting.

Known bugs in Elm 2.4 PL24:
	The following are from the Elm 2.4 "To.Do" list that are
considered bugs, not enhancements, that have not yet been done.  Items
which are enhancements are not listed here.  It is our intention to
release changes to 2.4 for some, but not necessarly all of these.  Some
of these will only be fixed in 3.0.  (It depends on how extensive the
change is to fix it, and what else it ties into in the 3.0 work).
Items marked fixed will be deleted from the list on the next posting.

Database last updated on Friday 12-February-93  9:45:34 +0000 (GMT)

General bugs and configuration bugs

GB01  Version:     2.4PL0           Status:     Open
      Open Date:   1-Oct-92         Close Date:
      Reported by: Elm Development Group 
      Summary:     Configuration questions need rearranging
          The ordering of some sets of configuration questions could be
          improved.  In some cases, the answer to a later question
          renders an earlier question moot.  In such cases, the latter
          should proceed the former so that the former would only be
          asked if need be.  This occurs with many of the configuration
          questions that deal with the domain routing and pathalias
          databases, appending the hostname and internet address style,

GB02  Version:     2.4PL0           Status:     Open
      Open Date:   1-Oct-92         Close Date:
      Reported by: Elm Development Group 
      Summary:     User id & mailbox algorithm should be consistant.
          All programs need to use the same algorithm elm(1) and frm(1)
          use in establishing the user's id and the user's incoming

Elm(1) bugs

EB02  Version:     2.4PL0           Status:     Open
      Open Date:   1-Oct-92         Close Date:
      Reported by: Elm Development Group 
      Summary:     Encryption is not fully implemented in ELM.
          In elm(1) we have the following problems:

          When `b' (bouncing) a message or `f' (forwarding) a message
          without editing, an encrypted section of text in the original
          message wrongly gets encrypted a second time. The function
          that looks for encryption delimiters needs to know to ignore
          them in these situations.

          When `p' (printing) or `|' (piping) a message, an encrypted
          message does not get decrypted. This is because elm(1) invokes
          readmsg(1) to pull the message out of the folder and
          readmsg(1) does not deal with encryption at all.

          Even if we gave readmsg(1) the ability to decrypt messages,
          we'd still have problems because readmsg itself would have to
          prompt for the decryption key.

          Now if we were printing or piping a set of tagged messages,
          readmsg(1) would have to prompt for decryption keys for each
          message individually. In doing that readmsg(1) would have to
          indicate which message of the set it was working on.

          This would be difficult since readmsg(1) uses actual ordinal
          message position in the folder, and that would be confusing if
          the user has folders sorted in other than mailbox order: the
          message numbers wouldn't match up. The solution therefore
          involves replacing readmsg(1) with a new function in elm(1) to
          handle the `p' or `|' commands, and this function would need
          to detect the encryption delimiters and prompt for the
          decryption key. Furthermore, readmsg(1) should get enhanced to
          deal with encrypted text, or else carry a disclaimer that it
          doesn't work on encrypted text.

          When including the text of an original message for a `r'
          (reply) or `f' (forward), encrypted sections do not get
          decrypted first, resulting in decrypted text inside the
          include text. This means that the elm(1) function that
          includes text of an original message must detect encryption
          delimiters and decrypt encrypted text before including it in a
          reply or forwarded message.

EB26  Version:     2.4PL0           Status:     Open
      Open Date:   1-Oct-92         Close Date:
      Reported by: Elm Development Group 
      Summary:     Addresses "node!user@domain" not handled as RFC976
          When using an address of the form "node!user@domain" and
          having Elm convert it to an all ! address, RFC976 states that
          the proper address should be domain!node!user, but Elm
          translates that to node!domain!user.

EB36  Version:     2.4PL0           Status:     Open
      Open Date:   1-Oct-92         Close Date:
      Reported by: Elm Development Group 
      Summary:     Sometimes user name is added into full name field
          When Elm is configured not to look at the password file for
          full name information, it sometimes places the user name in
          ()s as the comment in addition to the full name.

EB41  Version:     2.3PL11          Status:     Closed
      Open Date:   2-Dec-92         Close Date: 19-Sep-93
      Reported by: rp@mis29.cypress.com (Rob Price)
      Summary:     Incoming mail incorrectly handled in subset mode.
          If a subset of mail is displayed using the "l" command, new
          incoming mail is displayed with the subset mail.  However the
          mail count at the top of the screen is not updated, and the
          final few items (ie those numerically after the number of
          messages shown) cannot be selected by the cursor keys.

	  We implimented a 'quick' fix to close this one out.  In that
	  new mail is added to the subset, and not filtered by the current

EB45  Version:     2.4devPL65       Status:     Open
      Open Date:   2-Dec-92         Close Date:
      Reported by: jgreco@solaria.mil.wi.us (Joe Greco)
      Summary:     Incoming messages can confuse the index screen display.
          Elm can lose track of incoming (new) messages so that although
          the number of messages at the top of the screen is correct,
          the new messages are not displayed on the index page.  However
          these messages can be accessed in the normal way, they just
          aren't listed in the index.  Redrawing the screen restores
          things to normal.

EB48  Version:     2.4PL20          Status:     Open
      Open Date:   4-Jan-93         Close Date:
      Reported by: jason@Germany.Sun.COM
      Summary:     Empty Reply-To: header prevents reply including original text
          When the received Mail has an empty "Reply-To: " entry in the
          header, it is not possible to reply to the mail including the
          text,  Elm simply doesn't ask to include the text (or if
          autocopy is set then no text is included).

EB50  Version:     2.4PL17          Status:     Open
      Open Date:   30-Dec-1992      Close Date:
      Reported by: weisen@alw.nih.gov (Neil Weisenfeld)
      Summary:     Elm incorrectly displays folder name on index page
          My main mail directory is "~/Mail", but I also keep some stuff
          in another directory "~/MailDelivery".  The bug that I came
          across is when I change to the folder "~/MailDelivery/xxx", it
          prints the current folder name as "=Delivery/xxx"

EB52  Version:     2.4PL20          Status:     Open
      Open Date:   7-Jan-93         Close Date:
      Reported by: steve@avalon.dartmouth.edu (Steve Campbell)
      Summary:     Suspend/resume does not return you to builtin editor.
          If elm is suspended (ie ^Z in csh), when composing a message
          in the builtin editor, a resume (fg in csh) brings you back in
          at the send/edit/forget set of prompts.

EB53  Version:     2.4PL20          Status:     Closed
      Open Date:   7-Jan-93         Close Date: ?-93
      Reported by: robert.howard@matd.gatech.edu
      Summary:     Change alias can list names incorrectly.
          Using the new (C)hange Alias in the alias screen, the first
          name and the last name are displayed as the same thing (the
          entire string).

          [Comment from Dev team] This is a feature not a bug.  This
          occurs for entries that weren't  set up as Howard; Robert in
          the text file (entry was still the  old way, Robert Howard).
          Thus you get the whole thing both times so you can delete what
          you don't want.

Utilities bugs

UB02  Version:     2.4PL0           Status:     Open
      Open Date:   1-Oct-92         Close Date:
      Reported by: Elm Development Group 
      Summary:     Newmail cannot handle null From: headers.
          Newmail(1) displays a null "From" when a message does not
          contain a From: header line. It needs to be able to parse the
          return path and display the "last two words" of it, just like
          elm(1) does  when it encounters a message without a From:

UB07  Version:     2.4PL0           Status:     Open
      Open Date:   1-Oct-92         Close Date:
      Reported by: Elm Development Group 
      Summary:     Arepdaemon does not check user permissions.
          Arepdaemon has a bad security hole because it does not check
          to see if the user can read the file used for reply.

UB13  Version:     2.4PL0           Status:     Open
      Open Date:   1-Oct-92         Close Date:
      Reported by: Elm Development Group 
      Summary:     Filter has no locking against multiple instantiations.
          If filter is run on a system that allows multiple delivery
          agents, that can start up multiple copies of filter, delivery
          of messages can get intermixed.  Filter needs a complete
          interlocking to prevent this.

UB15  Version:     2.4PL17          Status:     Closed
      Open Date:   25-Dec-92        Close Date: ?-93
      Reported by: Larry Rosenman 
      Summary:     readmsg does not honour Content-Length: headers
          Readmsg does not honour Content-Length: headers - it uses the
          old standard of marking messages with From_  headers.  This
          makes it inconsistent with elm, and can make it imposible to
          print messages from within elm.
	  [Fixed in PL22]

-- elmbugs speaking for nigelm

-- end of elm bug database

                           The Elm(tm) Mail System

            (C) Copyright 1988-1994, USENET Community Trust
	    (C) Copyright 1986,1987, by Dave Taylor

			An Overview of the Elm Mail System
1. What is Elm?

	Currently on Unix, there seems to be a preponderence of line-oriented 
software.  This is most unfortunate as most of the software on Unix tends to
be pretty darn hard to use!  I believe that there is more than a slight
correlation between the two, and, since I was myself having problems using
"mailx" with high-volume mail, I created a new mail system.

	In the lingo of the mail guru, Elm is a "User Agent" system,
	it's designed to run with "sendmail" or "/bin/rmail" or any
other UNIX Mail Transport Agent (according to what's on your system)
and is a full replacement of programs like "/bin/mail" and "mailx".
The system is more than just a single program, however, and includes
programs like "frm" to list a 'table of contents' of your mail,
"printmail" to quickly paginate mail files (to allow 'clean'
printouts), and "autoreply", a systemwide daemon that can autoanswer
mail for people while they're on vacation without having multiple
copies spawned on the system.

2. What's New about Elm?

	The most significant difference between Elm and earlier mail
systems is that Elm is screen-oriented.  Upon further use, however,
users will find that Elm is also quite a bit easier to use, and quite a
bit more "intelligent" about sending mail and so on.   For example, say
you're on "usenet" and receive a message from someone on the Internet.
The sender also "cc'd" another person on Internet.  With Elm you can
simply G)roup reply and it will build the correct return addresses.

	There are lots of subtleties like that in the program, most of
which you'll probably find when you need them.

3. What systems does it work on?

	The Elm development group uses almost every UNIX system out
there between all of its volunteers.  Elm runs on USL System V, BSD,
SunOS, Apollo, UTS, Pyramid and Xenix and should run on almost any Unix
systems without any modifications (if there turn out to be
modifications, please notify the Elm Development Group as soon as

4. Does it obey existing mail standards?

	Yes!  That's another of the basic reasons the program was 
originally written!  To ensure that the date field, the "From:" line
and so on were all added in the correct format.  The program is 100%
correct according to the RFC-822 electronic mail header protocol

5. What were the main motivating factors for Dave to write Elm?

	The first two I've already mentioned, but here's a (somewhat
partial) list;

	-  To have a mail system that exploited the CRT instead of
	   assuming I'm on a teletype.

	- To have a mailer that was 100% correct when dealing with	 
	  network mail (ie RFC-822).

	- To create a system that needed no documentation for the
	  casual user, but was still powerful enough and sophisticated
	  enough for a mail expert.

	- To write a "significant" piece of software as a learning
	  experience (I admit it!)

	- To find out how reasonable it is to try to modify a program
	  to meet the expectations of the users, rather than vice-versa.

	- To basically correct some of the dumb things that the current
	  mailers do, like letting you send mail to addresses that it
	  could trivially figure out are going to result in 'dead.letter'

	- To tie in intimately with the pathalias program output, and
	  allow users to specify machine!user or user@machine and have
	  the COMPUTER do the work of figuring out addresses...
          (Note: As of 2.4, this has been removed from Elm, as routing
          mail transports are now readily available for all UNIX systems).

6. Is it reliable?

	The mailer, in various incarnations, has logged literally
thousands upon thousands of hours without any problems that aren't
now corrected.  As new problems arise they're dealt with in as
rapid a manner as possible...

7. Disclaimers 

	The author of this program will deny all liability for any
damages, either real or imagined, due to the execution of this program
or anything related to either the software or the system.  Furthermore,
the entire system and all source within, including the presentation
screens and commands, are legally copyrighted by the author, and while
they can be used, and abused, for public domain systems, it will be in 
violation of the law if used in systems or programs sold for profit.

	By installing the mailer or even extracting it from the network,
you are agreeing to the above disclaimer.

8. Finally

	I think it's a good program, and I can cite at least 75 people
who would (begrudgingly, I'm sure) agree.  You should most certainly
install the program and try it!!

				-- Dave Taylor
				-- Syd Weinstein, Coordinator
				Elm Development Group

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