mh-alias - Alias file for MH message system
Aliasing allows you to send mail to a person or group of persons without
typing their complete mail address. Both your MH personal alias file and
the system alias file for mail delivery, /usr/lib/mh/MailAliases, process
aliases in the same way. You can specify the name of your personal alias
file in your .mh_profile.
A line of the alias file can have the following formats:
alias : address-group
alias ; address-group
The first line of the example is the standard format. The alias appears at
the start of the line, followed by a colon, followed by the address or
addresses that it represents.
If the alias is terminated with a semicolon (;) instead of a colon (:), the
mail system outputs both the alias and the address-list in the correct for-
If the line starts with a <<, the file named after the << is read for more
alias definitions. The reading is done recursively, so a << can occur in
the beginning of an alias file with the expected results.
Addresses can be expressed in the following formats:
alias: address1, address2, address3, ...
Addresses are normally given in a list, separated by a comma and one or
more spaces. If the list goes over one line, you can create a continuation
line by placing a back-slash (\) immediately before the new-line character.
If the address-group begins with a <<, the file named after the << is read
and its contents added to the address list for the alias.
If the address-group starts with an =, then the file /etc/group is con-
sulted for the group named after the =. Each login name occurring as a
member of the group is added to the address list for the alias.
If the address-group starts with a +, then the file /etc/group is consulted
to determine the group-id of the group named after the +. Each login name
occurring in the /etc/passwd file whose group-id is indicated by this group
is added to the address list for the alias.
If the address-group is simply *, then the file /etc/passwd is consulted
and all login names with a user-id greater than a given number (usually
200) are added to the address list for the alias.
Aliases are resolved at posting time in the following way. A list of all
the addresses from the message is built and duplicate addresses are
eliminated. If the message originated on the local host, then alias reso-
lution is performed for those addresses in the message that have no host
specified. For each line in the alias file, aliases are compared against
all of the existing addresses. If there is a match, the matched alias is
removed from the address list, and each new address in the address-group is
added to the address list, if it is not already on the list.
The alias itself is not usually output; the address-group that the alias
maps to is output instead. However, if the alias is terminated with a
semicolon (;) instead of a colon (:), both the alias and the address are
output in the correct format. This makes replies possible, because in MH
aliases and personal aliases are unknown to the mail transport system.
MH alias files are expanded into the headers of messages posted. This
aliasing occurs first, at posting time, without the knowledge of the mes-
sage transport system. In contrast, once the message transport system is
given a message to deliver to a list of addresses, for each address that
appears to be local, a system-wide alias file is consulted. These aliases
are not expanded into the headers of messages delivered.
An alias file must not reference itself directly, or indirectly through
another alias file, using the <<file construct.
To use aliasing in MH, you need to set up a personal alias file. It can
have any name, but it is usually called aliases, and is usually located in
your Mail directory. To set up the file, you need to perform the following
First, add the following line to your .mh_profile:
If you have chosen a different name for your file, you should use this
instead of aliases. If your file is in a directory other than your Mail
directory, you must supply the full pathname.
Next, create the file aliases in your Mail directory.
You can now start to add aliases to your aliases file.
This section gives an example of an alias file, followed by an explanation
of the entries:
sgroup: fred, fear, freida
On the first line of the example, sgroup is defined as an alias for the
three names frated@UCI, fear, and freida. On the second line of the exam-
ple, fred is defined as an alias for frated@UCI. Next, the definition of
work-committee is given by reading the file work.aliases in your Mail
directory. The alias staff is defined as all users who are listed as
members of the group staff in the /etc/group file. The alias wheels is
defined as all users whose group-id in /etc/passwd is equal to the group
wheel. Finally, the alias everyone is defined as all users with a user-id
in /etc/passwd greater than 200.
System alias file.
Your user profile.
ali(1), send(1), whom(1), group(4), passwd(4), mh_profile(4), mtstailor(4),