comp(1) General Commands Manual comp(1)
comp - compose a message (only available within the message handling system, mh)
comp [msg] [+folder] [options]
Specifies the folder in which the draft message is created. If you do not send the draft, it is stored in this folder.
This option is usually set up in your See mh_profile(4) for more information. If you have this option set up, you can override it by
using the -nodraftfolder option. Specifies the name of a file in which a draft message is created. If no absolute pathname is
given, this file is assumed to be in your Mail directory. If the file already exists, the mail system will ask you what you want to
do with its contents before the draft message is created.
If the named file does not contain a message header, the -draftmessage option does not create one. If you want to create a message
in an empty file, use the -file option. You cannot use -draftmessage to specify a file name with the -draftfolder option. Specifies
the editor used to create the draft message. The default editor is prompter; see prompter(1). You can specify any approved editor as
If you regularly use the same editor, you can specify it in the Editor: line of your entry sets up vi as the editor you use to com-
pose mail messages:
Editor: /usr/ucb/vi Uses the named file to create the draft message in. If no absolute pathname is given, the file is assumed to be
in your Mail directory. If the file already exists, the mail system will ask you what you want to do with its contents before the
draft is created.
Unlike the -draftmessage option, this option creates a message header for a new draft. This means that you can create a draft in an
empty file and send it successfully. Specifies an alternative mail header for your draft. The named form-file contains a message
header, which comp uses when it creates the draft message. If no absolute pathname is given, it is assumed that the file is in your
If you do not specify the -form option, comp takes the message header from the components file in your Mail directory, or, if this
does not exist, it uses the system default header.
You cannot use the -form option with either a +folder or a msgs argument. Prints a list of the valid options for this command.
Creates a draft without invoking an editor. You are placed immediately at the What now? prompt, without being given the opportunity
to edit the draft at all. This option is only useful if you are sending an existing draft using the -use option to comp. Otherwise
it will produce a draft with no addresses and no content. Uses an existing draft as the new draft message. If you have saved a pre-
vious unsent draft in a drafts folder or in the draft file, you can edit and send it using the -use option. The previous draft is
displayed on your screen and the editor is invoked to allow you to edit the draft. When you exit from the editor, you receive the
What now? prompt in the usual way.
If you have a draft folder set up, or specify one with the -draftfolder option, the mail system will use the current draft in that
folder as the new draft message. If you do not have a draft folder, it will use the contents of the draft file. If you do not want
to use the current message in a folder, you can supply a message number. You can also use a message in a file by giving the file
name using the -file or the -draftmessage options.
If you want to send an existing draft without editing it further, you can supply the -use option in conjunction with the -noedit
option. This will place you at the What now? prompt without invoking an editor. Specifies an alternative whatnow program. Nor-
mally, comp invokes the default whatnow program. See whatnow(1) for a discussion of available options. You can specify your own
alternative to the default program using the -whatnowproc program option. If you do specify your own program, you should not call it
You can suppress the whatnow program entirely by using the -nowhatnowproc option. However, as the program normally starts the ini-
tial edit, the -nowhatnowproc option will prevent you from editing the message.
The defaults for comp are:
+foldername defaults to the current folder msg defaults to the current message -nodraftfolder -nouse
Use comp to create a new message for mailing. When you run comp, it provides a message template for you to fill in and invokes an editor so
that you can complete the message.
The comp command normally creates the new message in your draft folder, if you have one set up, or in the draft file if you do not have a
draft folder set up. If you wish to use an existing message as the basis of your new draft message, you can use the msg or +folder argu-
ments. The +folder argument takes the current message in the named folder as the basis of the new draft message. The msg argument takes the
named message from your draft folder, or if you do not have a draft folder set up, from your current folder. In both cases, the mail system
asks you what you want to do with the existing message. You cannot use the msg and +folder arguments together.
A mail message consists of a mail header and the body of the message. The mail header contains all the information that determines who is
going to receive the mail message. It can also give the recipients some information about the sender. The body of the message is the actual
text of the message that you want to send. The header is separated from the body of the text by a blank line or by a line of dashes. The
header must be separated from the body of the message in this way for the message to be identified properly when it is sent; see send(1).
The standard message header looks like this: To: cc: Subject: --------
You can specify an alternative mail header by setting up a file called components in your Mail directory. This is used instead of the
default mail header by comp.
If you do not have a draft folder set up, comp creates your new draft in a file called draft in your Mail directory. This file must be
empty before you can create a new draft, which means that you can only store one draft at a time. If it is not empty, the mail system will
ask you what you want to do with the existing contents. The options are: Aborts comp, leaving the draft intact. Replaces the existing
draft with the appropriate message form. Allows you to edit the existing draft. Displays the draft message. Refiles the existing draft
message in the specified folder, and provides a new message form for you to complete.
If you want to have more than one draft at a time, you can set up a draft folder in your keep as many unsent drafts as space allows, and
still create new messages as you wish. To do this, make sure that the following line is in your
For more information on how to do this, see mh_profile(4).
If you set up a draft folder, all draft messages are created in that folder. If you decide not to send the draft, by typing quit at the
What now? prompt, the message is stored in the draft folder. You can then re-edit the message, or send it at a later date, by using the
-use option to comp.
Path: To determine your Mail directory
Draft-Folder: To find the default draft folder
Editor: To override the default editor
Msg-Protect: To set mode when creating a new message (draft)
fileproc: Program to refile the message
whatnowproc: Program to ask the "What now?" questions
The default system template for draft messages. The user-supplied alternative to the default draft template. Your user profile. The
dist(1), forw(1), prompter(1), repl(1), send(1), whatnow(1), mh_profile(4)