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BSD 2.11 - man page for aliases (bsd section 5)

ALIASES(5)							File Formats Manual							ALIASES(5)

aliases - aliases file for sendmail
This file describes user id aliases used by /usr/sbin/sendmail. It is formatted as a series of lines of the form name: name_1, name2, name_3, . . . The name is the name to alias, and the name_n are the aliases for that name. Lines beginning with white space are continuation lines. Lines beginning with `#' are comments. Aliasing occurs only on local names. Loops can not occur, since no message will be sent to any person more than once. After aliasing has been done, local and valid recipients who have a ``.forward'' file in their home directory have messages forwarded to the list of users defined in that file. This is only the raw data file; the actual aliasing information is placed into a binary format in the files /etc/aliases.dir and /etc/aliases.pag using the program newaliases(1). A newaliases command should be executed each time the aliases file is changed for the change to take effect.
newaliases(1), dbm(3X), sendmail(8) SENDMAIL Installation and Operation Guide. SENDMAIL An Internetwork Mail Router.
Because of restrictions in dbm(3X) a single alias cannot contain more than about 1000 bytes of information. You can get longer aliases by ``chaining''; that is, make the last name in the alias be a dummy name which is a continuation alias. 4th Berkeley Distribution October 22, 1996 ALIASES(5)