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DIST(1mh) DIST(1mh)


dist - distribute an nmh message to additional addresses


dist [-help] [-version] [+folder] [msg] [-form formfile] [-annotate | -noannotate] [-inplace | -noinplace] [-draftfolder +folder] [-draftmessage msg] [-nodraftfolder] [-editor editor] [-noedit] [-width columns] [-from address] [-to address] [-cc address] [-fcc +folder] [-whatnowproc program] [-nowhatnowproc] [-atfile] [-noatfile]


dist is similar to forw. It prepares the specified message for redistribution to addresses that (presumably) are not on the original address list.

The default message form contains the following elements:

Resent-From: {from switch} or <Local-Mailbox> or <username@hostname>
Resent-To: {to switch} or blank
Resent-cc: {cc switch} or blank
Resent-fcc: {fcc switch} or blank

If a file named “distcomps” exists in the user's nmh directory, it will be used instead of this default form. You may specify an alternate forms file with the switch -form formfile. Forms are processed via the nmh template system; see mh-format(5) for details. Components from the redistributed message are available as standard component escapes in the forms file.

In addition to the standard mh-format(5) escapes, the following component escapes are also supported:

Escape	Returns	Description
fcc	string	Any folders specified with `-fcc folder'
nmh-from	string	Addresses specified with `-from address'
nmh-to	string	Addresses specified with `-to address'
nmh-cc	string	Addresses specified with `-cc address'

See forw(1) for descriptions of the -from, -to, -cc, and -fcc switches.

If the draft already exists, dist will ask you as to the disposition of the draft. A reply of quit will abort dist, leaving the draft intact; replace will replace the existing draft with a blank skeleton; and list will display the draft.

Only those addresses in “Resent-To:”, “Resent-cc:”, and “Resent-Bcc:” will be sent. Also, a “Resent-Fcc: folder” will be honored (see send(1)). Note that with dist, the draft should contain only “Resent-xxx:” fields and no body. The headers and the body of the original message are copied to the draft when the message is sent. Use care in constructing the headers for the redistribution.

Because the draft is minimal, the prompter(1) editor is quite useful with dist.

If the -annotate switch is given, the message being distributed will be annotated with the lines:

Resent: date
Resent: addrs
where each address list contains as many lines as required. This annotation will be done only if the message is sent directly from dist. If the message is not sent immediately from dist, “comp -use” may be used to re-edit and send the constructed message, but the annotations won't take place. Normally annotations are done in place in order to preserve any links to the message. You may use the -noinplace switch to change this.

See comp(1) for a description of the -editor and -noedit switches. Note that while in the editor, with -atfile and if the current directory is writable, the message being resent is available through a link named “@” (assuming the default whatnowproc). In addition, the actual pathname of the message is stored in the environment variable $editalt, and the pathname of the folder containing the message is stored in the environment variable $mhfolder. The creation of the “@” file is controlled via the -atfile and -noatfile options.

The -draftfolder +folder and -draftmessage msg switches invoke the nmh draft folder facility. This is an advanced (and highly useful) feature. Consult mh-draft(5) for more information.

Upon exiting from the editor, dist will invoke the whatnow program. See whatnow(1) for a discussion of available options. The invocation of this program can be inhibited by using the -nowhatnowproc switch. (In fact, it is the whatnow program which starts the initial edit. Hence, -nowhatnowproc will prevent any edit from occurring.)


The default message skeleton.
The user's message skeleton.
The user's profile.
The draft file.


To determine the user's nmh directory.
To find the default current folder.
To specify the default draftfolder.
To override the default editor.
Program to refile the message.
Program to ask the “What now?” questions.


comp(1), forw(1), mh-draft(5), prompter(1), repl(1), send(1), whatnow(1)


The current folder.
The current message.


If a folder is given, it will become the current folder. The message distributed will become the current message.


dist originally used headers of the form “Distribute-xxx:” instead of “Resent-xxx:”. In order to conform with the ARPA Internet standard, RFC 822, the “Resent-xxx:” form is now used. dist will recognize “Distribute-xxx:” type headers and automatically convert them to “Resent-xxx:”.


dist does not rigorously check the message being distributed for adherence to the transport standard, but post called by send does. The post program will balk (and rightly so) at poorly formatted messages, and dist won't correct things for you.

If whatnowproc is whatnow, then comp uses a built-in whatnow, it does not actually run the whatnow program. Hence, if you define your own whatnowproc, don't call it whatnow since comp won't run it.

2022-12-22 nmh-1.8