dist - redistribute a message to additional addresses (only available
within the message handling system, mh)
dist [msg] [+folder] [options]
Annotates the message that you are redistributing. The following lines
are added to the message that you are redistributing:
The first line records the time at which the message was redistributed;
the second records the addresses of the recipients of the redistributed
The dist command only annotates messages when they are successfully
sent. If you do not send the message immediately and file the unsent
draft, it will not be annotated.
Specifies the folder in which the draft message is created. If you do
not send the draft, the mail system will store it in this folder.
This option is usually set up in your .mh_profile. 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 file in which the draft message is created. If no abso-
lute pathname is given, the file is assumed to be in your Mail direc-
tory, standardly $HOME/Mail. If you do not send the message, it is
stored in the named file until you delete it, or send it at a later
Specifies the editor that you want to use to edit your forwarded mes-
You can also set up an editor in your .mh_profile file; see
mh_profile(4) for more information.
Specifies the message header to be used in the draft message. If this
option is present, dist takes the header of the draft message from the
named file. If this option is not present, the header is taken from the
distcomps file in your Mail directory, or failing that, from the mail
system default header.
Causes annotation to be done in place, to preserve links to the anno-
tated message. This option only works with the -annotate option.
Prints a list of the valid options for this command.
Suppresses editing of the draft message altogether.
Specifies an alternative whatnow program. Normally, dist 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 pro-
gram, you should not call it whatnow.
You can suppress the whatnow program entirely by using the -nowhat-
nowproc option. However, as the program normally starts the initial
edit, the -nowhatnowproc option will prevent you from editing the mes-
The defaults for dist are:
+folder defaults to the current folder
msg defaults to cur
Use dist to redistribute a message to addresses that are not on the origi-
nal address list.
You can specify the message which you want to redistribute by giving a mes-
sage number as the msg argument. If you do not supply a message number,
dist takes the current message. You can only redistribute one message at a
time. You can also specify a message in another folder by giving the
+folder argument. This argument can be used in conjunction with the msg
The program dist is similar to forw. The main difference between the two
commands is that forw encapsulates the message, whereas dist merely resends
it. You cannot add any new text of your own to a message that you re-
distribute using dist. A message that has been forwarded will appear to
have been sent by the person who forwarded the message. A message that has
been redistributed using dist will appear to have come from the sender of
the original message. This is shown in the scan listing of the messages. In
the following example, messages 1 and 2 are identical apart from the method
used to send the message on to additional recipients:
1 20/06 goodman Hello <<As you will see from th
2+ 21/06 John As previous, but forwarded <<---
When you use dist, you will get a message form to fill in with the details
of the additional recipients. The default message form contains the fol-
If the file named dist comps exists in your Mail directory, standardly
$HOME/Mail, it is used instead of the standard mail header. If the option
-form formfile is given, it overrides both of these.
You can only put recognized header lines in your message form. The dist
program recognizes values in the following fields:
The headers and the body of the original message are copied to the draft
when the message is sent. You cannot add any new body text of your own when
redistributing a message with dist.
If you do not have a draft folder set up, dist creates the message form 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 asks you what you want to do
with the existing contents. The options are:
Aborts dist, leaving the draft intact.
Replaces the existing draft with the appropriate message form.
Displays the draft message.
Refiles the existing draft message in the specified folder, and pro-
vides a new message form for you to complete.
If you want to be able to have more than one draft at a time, you can set
up a draft folder in your .mh_profile. This allows you to 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 .mh_profile:
For more information on how to do this, see mh_profile(4).
You cannot store unsent messages created using dist in your draft folder.
If you attempt to do so, only the message form is stored. This does not
contain the original message that you are redistributing, so you will not
be able to send it later.
If you use repl to reply to a message resent to you by dist, the reply will
go to the sender of the original message, rather than the person who for-
warded it to you. The repl command ignores the Resent-xxx: fields when
creating the header for your draft reply.
Path: To determine your Mail directory (<<mh-dir>>)
Draft-Folder: To find the default draft folder
Editor: To override the default editor
fileproc: Program to refile the message
whatnowproc: Program to ask the What now? questions
The default system template for re-distributed messages.
The user-supplied alternative to the default system template.
The user profile.
The draft file.
comp(1), forw(1), repl(1), send(1), whatnow(1)