A User's Directories
[table of contents] [index]
Much of the
Figure Important parts of a UNIX filesystem
shows the directories for a user named ehuser.
The home directory /u/ehuser holds the MH Profile.
The Mail directory and its subdirectories are for MH.
If the user wants any shell scripts or other programs, bin holds them.
The gray arrow pointing out of the bin directory is a symbolic link named
It points to the executable repl program in the MH binaries directory.
ehuser also has a shell program named
fols in her bin.
The MH directory (named Mail in this example) has two subdirectories.
MH uses these directories as mail folders; there might be many more of them.
The MH directory also has several files; some are explained here
and others are covered in later chapters.
When you make a new draft message, MH stores the draft in a file in the MH
The draft file is named (logically enough) draft.
Alternatively, MH can make a folder for holding many draft messages.
This folder is called (are you ready?) a draft folder.
The Section Working with Draft Messages
covers drafts in detail.
- Library Files
The Mail directory has ehuser's private version of the
components and mhl.format files, which MH will use instead of
the corresponding file in the MH library directory.
There's also a replxfilt filter file for the
replx command (which
is in her bin).
- Context File
Each user's MH directory has its own context file.
This file keeps track of your current folder and private sequences.
If you've used any read-only folders (another user's folders, for
instance), all information about them is stored here.
A folder (such as the people folder in the Figure Important parts of a UNIX filesystem)
has one text file for each message in the folder.
The name of the message file is the message number.
So the people folder has two messages in it, numbers 1 and 2.
(There can be other messages, but they aren't shown in the diagram.)
The files whose names start with commas are "deleted" messages.
File ,6 in the people/friends folder is an example.
The rmm command prepends a comma to the filename (some systems use other
This "hides" the message from MH commands, but gives you a chance to
recover the deleted message.
At a later time, a system program normally removes "deleted" messages.
This is covered in the Section
Removing and Recovering Messages.
In each folder (and subfolder), an .mh_sequences file keeps track of the
sequences in the folder.
(More exactly, public sequences are stored in .mh_sequences.
Private sequences are kept in the context file.)
Sequences are the lists of message numbers that
you set with commands like
mark and pick.
There's a sequence called cur that holds the current message number,
an unseen sequence that lists unread messages, and more.
The people folder has two subfolders
named friends and
Each of these subfolders has the same structure as people.
They both have .mh_sequences files for themselves.
They can even have subfolders... and sub-sub-subfolders.
(But note that
xmh under X11 Release 6 only recognizes one level of subfolders.
If you happen to have sub-sub...folders, xmh will ignore them.
The X11 Release 3 version doesn't handle subfolders at all.)
The only difference between a folder and subfolder is the name;
see the Section Relative Folder Names
for more information.
[Table of Contents] [Index]
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[Next: Special Files for xmh]
Last change $Date: 1996/06/06 15:08:36 $
This file is from the third edition of the book MH & xmh: Email
for Users & Programmers, ISBN 1-56592-093-7, by Jerry Peek.
Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
This file is freely-available; you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation. For more information, see
the file copying.htm.
Suggestions are welcome:
Jerry Peek <email@example.com>