ARCHIVED: In Unix, what is metamail and how do I use it?

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In Unix, metamail is a utility for integrating MIME into electronic mail programs like MH and Berkeley mail. When a mail program encounters a non-text message that it cannot itself handle, it calls metamail to decode and, if possible, display it. When invoked, metamail decodes the quoted-printable or Base64 attachment, and then consults a mailcap file to determine how to open it. If there is no mailcap entry for the attachment type, metamail usually saves it to a file. Otherwise, it passes the attachment to an interpreter program. For example, it may open an image viewer to display an attached GIF file.

Note: To properly open most multimedia attachments, such as image and sound files, you'll need to be using the X Window System.

Some computers will have a systemwide mailcap file located in an administrative directory such as /etc/ or /usr/local/etc/ . You can also create your own and keep it in the home directory of your account. For information about how to create one, read the mailcap man page. For more information about the metamail program itself, consult the manual page for metamail.

At Indiana University, for personal or departmental Linux or Unix systems support, see Get help for Linux or Unix at IU.

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Last modified on 2018-01-18 12:31:59.