are you using /var/mail?

Stuart Anderson anderson at
Wed Jan 20 12:41:12 PST 1999

On Wed, 20 Jan 1999, Daniel Quinlan wrote:

> There is speculation that /var/spool/mail has remained the "real"
> standard for Linux despite what FHS 2.0 says.
> If you are a Linux developer/distribution/company/etc. currently using
> /var/mail (as specified in FHS 2.0) instead of /var/spool/mail, please
> let me know.  I think glibc 2.1 has made the change to _PATH_MAILDIR in
> paths.h, but that's all I know about.
> If nobody is using it, we can consider changing it back.  If not, then
> we'll just specifically allow a symbolic link at /var/mail to point to
> the real spool directory (or something like that).

Ideally, from an ABI perspective, applications wouldn't need to know the
path at all. They would have an API in a shared library to use to access
and manipulate the mail folders. Isn't this was MAPI does on M$? The OS
would provide the shared library configured the right way for that OS.

I haven't looked closely, but I think that the c-client library comes
close to doing this.

MUAs should use such a library, and MTAs are probably complicated enough
that they would be configurable via a config file anyway.


Stuart R. Anderson                               anderson at

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