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RedHat 9 (Linux i386) - man page for mailcap (redhat section 4)

MAILCAP(4)			     Kernel Interfaces Manual			       MAILCAP(4)

NAME
       mailcap - metamail capabilities file

DESCRIPTION
       The  mailcap  file is read by the metamail program to determine how to display non-text at
       the local site.

       The syntax of a mailcap file is quite simple, at least compared	to  termcap  files.   Any
       line  that  starts  with "#" is a comment.  Blank lines are ignored.  Otherwise, each line
       defines a single mailcap entry for a single content type.  Long lines may be continued  by
       ending them with a backslash character, \.

       Each  individual mailcap entry consists of a content-type specification, a command to exe-
       cute, and (possibly) a set of optional "flag" values.  For example, a very simple  mailcap
       entry (which is actually a built-in default behavior for metamail) would look like this:

       text/plain; cat %s

       The  optional  flags can be used to specify additional information about the mail-handling
       command.  For example:

       text/plain; cat %s; copiousoutput

       can be used to indicate that the output of the 'cat' command may be voluminous,	requiring
       either a scrolling window, a pager, or some other appropriate coping mechanism.

       The "type" field (text/plain, in the above example) is simply any legal content type name,
       as defined by RFC 822.  In practice, this is almost any string.	It  is	the  string  that
       will  be  matched  against  the	"Content-type" header (or the value passed in with -c) to
       decide if this is the mailcap entry that matches the current message.   Additionally,  the
       type  field may specify a subtype (e.g. "text/ISO-8859-1") or a wildcard to match all sub-
       types (e.g. "image/*").

       The "command" field is any UNIX command ("cat %s" in the above example), and  is  used  to
       specify the interpreter for the given type of message.  It will be passed to the shell via
       the system(3) facility.	Semicolons and backslashes within the command must be quoted with
       backslashes.   If  the command contains "%s", those two characters will be replaced by the
       name of a file that contains the body of the message. If it contains "%t', those two char-
       acters  will  be replaced by the content-type field, including the subtype, if any.  (That
       is, if the content-type was "image/pbm; opt1=something-else", then "%t" would be  replaced
       by  "image/pbm".)   If the command field contains  "%{" followed by a parameter name and a
       closing "}", then all those characters will be replaced by the value of the named  parame-
       ter, if any, from the Content-type header.   Thus, in the previous example, "%{opt1}" will
       be replaced by "something-else".  Finally, if the command contains "", those  two  charac-
       ters will be replaced by a single % ch

       aracter.  (In fact, the backslash can be used to quote any character, including itself.)

       If  no  "%s"  appears  in the command field, then instead of placing the message body in a
       temporary file, metamail will pass the body to the command on the standard input.  This is
       helpful in saving /tmp file space, but can be problematic for window-oriented applications
       under some window systems such as MGR.

       Two special codes can appear in the viewing command for objects	of  type  multipart  (any
       subtype).  These are "%n" and "%F".  %n will be replaced by the number of parts within the
       multipart object.  %F will be replaced by a series of arguments, two for each part, giving
       first  the content-type and then the name of the temporary file where the decoded part has
       been stored.  In addition, for each file created by %F, a second file is created, with the
       same name followed by "H", which contains the header information for that body part.  This
       will not be needed by most multipart handlers, but it is there if you ever need it.

       The "notes=xxx" field is an uninterpreted string that is used to specify the name  of  the
       person  who  installed  this entry in the mailcap file.	(The "xxx" may be replaced by any
       text string.)

       The "test=xxx" field is a command that is executed to determine whether or not the mailcap
       line actually applies.  That is, if the content-type field matches the content-type on the
       message, but a "test=" field is present, then the test must  succeed  before  the  mailcap
       line  is considered to "match" the message being viewed.  The command may be any UNIX com-
       mand, using the same syntax and	the  same  %-escapes  as  for  the  viewing  command,  as
       described  above.  A command is considered to succeed if it exits with a zero exit status,
       and to fail otherwise.

       The "print=xxx" field is a command that is executed to print the data instead  of  display
       it  interactively.   This  behavior is usually a consequence of invoking metamail with the
       "-h" switch.

       The "textualnewlines" field can be used	in  the  rather  obscure  case	where  metamail's
       default	rules  for  treating  newlines	in  base64-encoded  data  are unsatisfactory.  By
       default, metamail will translate CRLF to the local newline  character  in  decoded  base64
       output if the content-type is "text" (any subtype), but will not do so otherwise.  A mail-
       cap entry with a field of "textualnewlines=1" will force such translation for  the  speci-
       fied  content-type, while "textualnewlines=0" will guarantee that the translation does not
       take place even for textual content-types.

       The "compose" field may be used to specify a program that can be used  to  compose  a  new
       body  or  body  part  in  the given format.  Its intended use is to support mail composing
       agents that support the composition of multiple types of  mail  using  external	composing
       agents.	As  with  the  view-command, the compose command will be executed after replacing
       certain escape sequences starting with "%".  In particular, %s should be replaced  by  the
       name of a file to which the composed data is to be written by the specified composing pro-
       gram, thus allowing th3e calling program (e.g. metamail) to tell the called program  where
       to store the composed data.  If %s does not appear, then the composed data will be assumed
       to be written by the composing programs to standard output.   The result of the	composing
       program	may  be  data  that is NOT yet suitable for mail transport -- that is, a Content-
       Transfer-Encoding may still need to be applied to the data.

       The "composetyped" field is similar to the "compose" field, but is to  be  used	when  the
       composing program needs to specify the Content-type header field to be applied to the com-
       posed data.  The "compose" field is simpler, and is preferred for use with existing  (non-
       mail-oriented) programs for composing data in a given format.  The "composetyped" field is
       necessary when the Content-type information must include auxilliary  parameters,  and  the
       composition  program  must  then  know  enough  about  mail formats to produce output that
       includes the mail type information, and to apply any necessary  Content-Transfer-Encoding.
       Conceptually, "compose" specifies a program that simply outputs the specified type of data
       in its raw form, while "composetyped" specifies a program that outputs the data as a  MIME
       object, with all necessary Content-* headers already in place.

       needsterminal
	       If  this flag is given, the named interpreter needs to interact with the user on a
	       terminal.  In some environments (e.g. a window-oriented	mail  reader  under  X11)
	       this  will  require the creation of a new terminal emulation window, while in most
	       environments it will not.  If the  mailcap  entry  specifies  "needsterminal"  and
	       metamail  is not running on a terminal (as determined by isatty(3), the -x option,
	       and the MM_NOTTTY environment variable) then metamail will try to run the  command
	       in  a  new terminal emulation window.  Currently, metamail knows how to create new
	       windows under the X11, SunTools, and WM window systems.

       copiousoutput
	       This flag should be given whenever the interpreter is capable  of  producing  more
	       than  a	few lines of output on stdout, and does no interaction with the user.  If
	       the mailcap entry specifies copiousoutput, and pagination has been  requested  via
	       the  "-p"  command,  then  the  output of the command being executed will be piped
	       through a pagination program ("more" by default, but this can be  overridden  with
	       the METAMAIL_PAGER environment variable).

BUILT-IN CONTENT-TYPE SUPPORT
       The  metamail program has built-in support for a few key content-types.	In particular, it
       supports the text type,	the  multipart	and  multipart/alternative  type,  and	the  mes-
       sage/rfc822  types.   This support is incomplete for many subtypes -- for example, it only
       supports US-ASCII text in general.  This kind of built-in support can be OVERRIDDEN by  an
       entry in any mailcap file on the user's search path.  Metamail also has rudimentary built-
       in support for types that are totally unrecognized -- i.e. for which no mailcap	entry  or
       built-in  handler  exists.  For such unrecognized types, metamail will write a file with a
       "clean" copy of the data -- i.e. a copy in which all mail headers have been  removed,  and
       in which any 7-bit transport encoding has been decoded.

FILES
       $HOME/.mailcap:/etc/mailcap:/usr/etc/mailcap:/usr/local/etc/mailcap  --	default  path for
       mailcap files.

SEE ALSO
       metamail(1)

COPYRIGHT
       Copyright (c) 1991 Bell Communications Research, Inc. (Bellcore)

       Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this material for any purpose and  without
       fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice
       appear in all copies, and that the name of Bellcore not be used in advertising or  public-
       ity  pertaining	to  this  material  without  the specific, prior written permission of an
       authorized representative of Bellcore.  BELLCORE MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE  ACCU-
       RACY OR SUITABILITY OF THIS MATERIAL FOR ANY PURPOSE.  IT IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT ANY
       EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES.

AUTHOR
       Nathaniel S. Borenstein

Bellcore Prototype			    Release 2				       MAILCAP(4)


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