Athena Support for MIME in Mail User Agents
This document describes the Athena-supplied configuration files and
tools you can use to read and compose MIME
(Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions)
electronic mail. A mail user agent (or MUA) is
the program you use to read and send electronic mail.
MIME is a standard set of rules for formatting
electronic-mail messages to "enclose" other objects such as images and
documents, or even other messages. A MIME-aware MUA interprets such
messages, breaking out the sections and presenting enclosures through the
appropriate viewing software. For example, it would display an enclosed
PostScript file with the GhostScript viewer instead of showing you the
raw PostScript commands.
For more information on MIME, see the
overview of the MIME standard,
Using MIME Support in Your Environment
First, please see
Electronic Mail on Athena (AC-31), if you have not read it already.
It describes the Athena-supported MH, xmh, and mh-e
By default, your Athena environment disables MIME support in
the MH family of mail handlers, because there was no good
default configuration in the released software.
With the configurations and tools in the mime locker, you can
enable MIME support again, following theses steps:
- Add the mime locker as part of your default environment, e.g. by
inserting "add mime" in
your ~/.environment file.
Customizing Your Athena Session ("Dotfiles") (AC-16) for more details
- If your shell is csh or tcsh (the default), add
this line to your ~/.environment file:
- If you use the Bourne shell (/bin/sh) or a derivative like bash, add
this line to your ~/.profile:
The next time you login, your environment will be set up to use MIME.
What does MIME support do?
When you receive a MIME message with some content (a section of the
message made up of a different type of data), the mail reader will display it
with the appropriate application program. For example, FrameMaker and MS Word
documents are displayed in a word-processor, images with xv, etc.
Sometimes your mailer will give up trying to display a piece of content
because its content-type is improperly described or unknown. If this happens,
you can save the piece of content as a file. Use the command
mhn -store -part part-number message-number.
You can list the parts of a multipart message with
mhn -list message-number.
Mail User Agents that support MIME
The following MUAs include some MIME support that is configured by
the tools in this locker.
- MH, part of the Athena environment, uses mhn.
See the mhn(1) manual page.
- exmh, a different GUI-based MH mailer, which uses metamail for
MIME support. Exmh is maintained by SIPB. See the online
Exmh Manual at http://www.beedub.com/exmh/ for details.
Mail User Agents that DO NOT support MIME
- xmh, an X11 interface to MH, is built on MH programs
but does not invoke mhn so it cannot interpret MIME messages.
Last revised: $Id: index.html,v 1.4 1998/04/02 03:25:14 lcs Exp $
Maintained by <firstname.lastname@example.org>