are you using /var/mail?

H. Peter Anvin hpa at
Wed Jan 20 13:25:44 PST 1999

> On Wed, 20 Jan 1999, Kragen Sitaker wrote:
> > On Wed, 20 Jan 1999, Stuart Anderson wrote:
> > > 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.
> > 
> > Well, somewhere there needs to be a fairly stable interface.  Whether
> > that's a shared library or a name and fileformat in the filesystem
> > doesn't matter all that much, although a shared library gives you more
> > flexibility in how you store the underlying data.
> You've just summed up why previous ABIs were done the way they were 8-).
> > > I haven't looked closely, but I think that the c-client library comes
> > > close to doing this.
> > 
> > I've heard tell that the c-client library is grossly inefficient.
> That's possible. I haven't looked into it much, I just know that several
> things seem to use it at it provide an abstracted interface to a mail
> repository.
> For several years, I've thought that this type of interface to mail would
> be good, just never did anything about it...

Let's not forget that hacking into the mail spool directory is a Bad
Thing[TM] to begin with.  On may systems it also requires a setgid
program, and to boot it forces the use of the linear mailbox format,
which has a number of problems.  The best would be to have an
available API that could speak POP or IMAP, or use a program such as
fetchmail to get it from the spool directory.


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