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              Release Notes for DECmail/MS version 10

                           Larry Campbell
             Internal Software Support Group (DIS/ISSG)

         This document reflects DECmail/MS version 10(2123)

                           October, 1982


     DECmail/MS is a product  which  provides  TOPS-10  and  TOPS-20
users  with  a sophisticated and flexible electronic messaging capa-
bility (such capabilities are frequently called "electronic  mail").
DECmail/MS is the generic name for a software package which includes
the program MS along with some ancillary modules which together pro-
vide  a  comprehensive  multinode  mail service (and, in the future,
will provide gateways to other electronic mail systems).

     This document describes version 10 of DECmail/MS.  This is  the
first  version  to  appear  as a supported, unbundled product of the
Large Systems Product Line.  Earlier versions were developed  on  an
unfunded  basis,  largely  as a hobby for the developer.  DECmail/MS
originated from a similar program  developed  at  SRI  International
called  MM;  the two programs diverged very early on, and today dis-
play only superficial similarities.
Release Notes for DECmail/MS version 10                       Page 2


2.1  Undistributed Components

     The DECmail/MS documentation may  occasionally  refer  to  some
software  components  which  are  not  distributed with the official
DECmail/MS tape.  These components are EMACS, and VMAIL/VMAILR.

2.1.1  EMACS -

     EMACS is an extremely powerful and sophisticated editor,  built
at  MIT  on top of a sophisticated variant of TECO known as ITSTECO.
DECmail/MS has  facilities  which  provide  a  convenient  interface
between DECmail/MS and EMACS.

     EMACS is distributed only by MIT, and supported only  at  their
convenience.   Digital  neither  distributes nor supports EMACS.  In
the opinion of this  author,  though,  it  is  the  best  editor  in
existence today and well worth getting a copy.


     VMAIL and VMAILR are  two  programs,  analagous  to  NMAIL  and
DMAILR  (see section, which provide DECmail/MS users with
the ability to exchange messages with users of VAXmail,  the  unsup-
ported (and primitive) mail utility which comes with VAX/VMS.  These
components are being used internally at DEC  while  we  develop  the
real  solution  to  cross-systems mail connectivity.  At the present
time, we prefer not to distribute this interim solution, but  rather
to  concentrate  on  providing the "correct" and globally acceptable
solution to this problem.  Distributing interim hacks runs the  risk
of diluting this effort.

2.2  Prerequisite Software

     DECmail/MS version 10  runs  under  TOPS-10,  version  7.01  or
later,  and  under  TOPS-20,  Release  4  or  later.  It will run on
KS-10/20 or KL-10/20 processors;  it will NOT run on KA-10 or  KI-10
processors,  and  it  will  NOT run under the TENEX or ITS operating
Release Notes for DECmail/MS version 10                       Page 3
Incompatible changes between versions 4A and 10


     (This section is provided for those TOPS-20 sites who may  have
obtained  a  copy  of  MS version 4A.  Since version 10 is the first
version of MS to run under TOPS-10, this  section  is  naturally  of
little  interest  to  TOPS-10  users, who will probably wish to skip

      .  The command SHOW HEADERS has been removed.

      .  The command RESTORE-DRAFT has  been  replaced  by  RETRIEVE
         DRAFT  (note  the  change  from  a  hyphenated command to a
         two-word command).

      .  The SAVE-OUTGOING-MESSAGES command  has  been  replaced  by
         SAVE  OUTGOING-MESSAGES  (note the change from a hyphenated
         command to a two-word command).

      .  The HEADERS command has been renamed SUMMARIZE.

      .  The LIST command has been renamed PRINT.

      .  The SET HEADERS-PERSONAL-NAME-ONLY command has been renamed

      .  The SET HEADERS-ON-PRINTER-OUTPUT command has been  renamed

      .  In the output from the SUMMARIZE command,  the  "From"  and
         "Subject"  fields are now separated by vertical bar "|" in-
         stead of space.  This makes the truncation of  long  "From"
         fields look less like a bug.

      .  Version 4 of MS will not be able to reply to mail  sent  by
         version 10 if the address-list feature was used to send the

      .  The  command  LOGOUT-ON-EXIT  has  been  replaced  by   SET

      .  The name of the "In-reply-to" field  has  been  changed  to

      .  The SET SHOW-TO-IN-HEADERS-COMMAND has been removed.  It is
         no  longer needed, as its purpose is well served by the new
         functionality described in section 5.4 of this document.
Release Notes for DECmail/MS version 10                       Page 4
Features added between versions 4A and 10


4.1  Pass-through Support

     In conjunction with version 10 of DMAILR, the DECNET  mail  un-
spooler, you can now send mail to DECNET hosts which are not in your
local DECNET (in DECNET Phase  II  this  means  nonadjacent  hosts).
DMAILR uses the pass-through service (object type 123 decimal) to do
this.  The only change required to MS itself was to accept  the  new
host  table  format (PS:<SYSTEM>DECNET-HOSTS.TXT) which now includes
routing information;  most of the functionality for this resides  in


     This command allows you to specify a list of headers whose dis-
play  you  wish  suppressed  while MS is displaying a message.  This
command  and  the  SET  ONLY-HEADERS-SHOWN  command   are   mutually
exclusive;   if  both  are given, the SET ONLY-HEADERS-SHOWN command

4.3  Improved SEND Command

     The SEND command may now be followed on the same line by a list
of  addresses,  which  will  go into the "To" list.  If you use this
flavor of SEND,  MS  will  not  prompt  for  a  "cc"  list,  on  the
assumption  that  you  are  trying  to send a message quickly.  This
means that the following type of EXEC command will now work:


     Note that if MS is given a command on  the  EXEC  command  line
which  invoked  MS  (as in the above example), it will not bother to
read and parse your MAIL.TXT unless the command you gave  it  (or  a
command  in  your init file) references your mail.  This means that,
with a very large mail file,


will be considerably faster than


since, in the second case, MS must read and parse your  entire  mail
Release Notes for DECmail/MS version 10                       Page 5
Features added between versions 4A and 10

4.4  Improved SUMMARIZE (formerly HEADERS) Command

     The output from the SUMMARIZE command has been improved.  If  a
message  being  listed by the SUMMARIZE command was sent by you (the
user running MS), then instead of displaying the "From" field of the
message  in  the  third column, MS will display the "To" field, pre-
ceded by the word "To".  For example, consider the following summary
output from MS version 4:

      1 20-Sep LCAMPBELL             This msg is from me (268 chars)
      2 20-Sep GRANT                 This msg is from GRANT (255 chars)
      3 20-Sep MILLER                This msg is from MILLER (312 chars)
      4 20-Sep LCAMPBELL             This message is from me (300 chars)

     Version 10 of MS would display the summary like this:

       1 20-Sep To: GRANT            |This msg is from me (268 chars)
       2 20-Sep GRANT                |This msg is from GRANT (255 chars)
       3 20-Sep MILLER               |This msg is from MILLER (312 chars)
       4 20-Sep To: OSMAN, MURPHY, HA|This msg is from me (300 chars)

     The messages marked with "To:" were sent by  the  current  user
(LCAMPBELL)  and  the  field  displayed  is  the "To" field, not the
"From" field.  Message number 4 illustrates the case where the  "To"
field contains more than one name.

     This  feature,  when  used  in  conjunction  with  the  command
SAVE-OUTGOING-MESSAGES (IN FILE) MAIL.TXT (so that messages you send
are filed in your message file) is particularly helpful  in  keeping
records  of mail conversations.  You can keep both incoming and out-
going mail in the same file, and by  scanning  for  the  word  "To:"
before  user  names, can quickly see which messages are incoming and
which are outgoing.  Since replies generated  automatically  by  the
REPLY  command have the same subject string as the original message,
it is easy to collect all messages pertaining  to  a  given  conver-
sation together.
Release Notes for DECmail/MS version 10                       Page 6
Features added between versions 4A and 10


     There is a new display option which can be activated  with  the
SET  TEXT-SCROLL-REGION  command.   When  reading messages with this
option activated, only the message text portion of the message  will
be  scrolled.   The  header  area  will remain on the screen without
moving for easy reference.  If the header area is too large, though,
this  is annoying, as your text scrolls through an excessively small
window.  Thus, if the header area is "too big", MS will  scroll  the
entire  screen.   "Too  big"  currently  means that fewer than eight
lines would be left in which to display the message after displaying
the  headers.   You  can  change  this  parameter  by giving the SET
TEXT-SCROLL-REGION command with a numeric argument.

4.6  Video Display Now Optional

     A new command, SET NO VIDEO-MODE, disables  all  video  display
handling,  such  as  clearing the screen and setting scroll regions.
The default is SET VIDEO-MODE.

     The SET VIDEO-MODE command has a useful side effect.  It forces
MS  to  reinitialize  all its knowledge of your terminal parameters.
Thus, if you detach from a job running MS and  later  attach  to  it
with a different terminal, if you give the monitor command:

TERMINAL <terminal-type>

then continue MS and give MS the SET  [NO]  VIDEO-MODE  command,  MS
will be able to continue to do its video display properly because it
now knows that you've changed terminal types.

4.7  Support For New Local Mailer (MAILEX)

     The old local mailer, MAILER, is being replaced by an  improved
version  called  MAILEX.   MS  supports  both mailers, but if MAILEX
exists on a system  MS  uses  it.   MAILEX  provides  the  following
advantages over MAILER:

      .  Personal names now go in the "From"  field,  just  as  with
         network  mail, and not in a separate "From-the-terminal-of"

      .  In  messages  addressed  to  both  local   recipients   and
         recipients  on  foreign  hosts, all local mail is delivered
         locally.  Previously it all  had  to  go  via  the  network
Release Notes for DECmail/MS version 10                       Page 7
Features added between versions 4A and 10

4.8  User-defined Header Items

     A "header-item" is a keyword known to MS which serves to  iden-
tify  a  specific  piece of information in the header area of a mes-
sage.  A header-item consists of an alphanumeric  string,  which  is
the  name  of  the  header-item, a colon, and some text which is the
data associated with the header-item.  The "To" field is an  example
of a header-item which has addresses in its data field.

     MS has seven header-items wired into it:  Date, To,  cc,  From,
Subject,  Reply-to, and In-reply-to.  The DEFINE HEADER-ITEM command
allows users to define their own, new header items.

     Header-items come in three  flavors:   optional,  required,  or
predefined.  An optional header-item is one which MS will not prompt
for when sending, but which may be entered by giving the  send-level
command INCLUDE.  A required header-item is one which MS will prompt
you for, and require that you supply before allowing you to send the
message.   A  predefined header-item is one which you've supplied in
the DEFINE command, and will be inserted into the message automatic-

     Here  is  an  example  of  a  user  defining  the   header-item
"Telephone"  as  a  predefined  header-item containing his telephone

MS>define header-item Telephone predefined text-string 223-8457

     There are currently six types of header-items which may be  de-
fined:   addresses, dates, date-times, times, text strings, and key-
words.  The syntax required to define a header-item is:

        define header-item <name> <flavor> <type> <optional-value>

<name>   := any alphanumeric string
<flavor> := optional | predefined | required
<type>   := date | date-and-time | time | address | text-string | keyword
<optional-value> := value of predefined header-item, or list of
                    keywords for keyword header-items

     To delete the definition of a  header-item,  give  the  command
DEFINE   HEADER-ITEM  <name>  with  no  arguments.   To  delete  all
header-item definitions, give the command DEFINE HEADER-ITEM * (this
is similar to the EXEC's DEFINE command).

     The SHOW HEADER-ITEMS command will display  all  currently  de-
fined  header-items  (except, of course, for those seven wired in to
MS).  The INCLUDE command  is  used  at  send  level  to  include  a
header-item which has been declared optional.  The ERASE HEADER-ITEM
command may be used at send level to erase a  header-item  from  the
current draft.
Release Notes for DECmail/MS version 10                       Page 8
Features added between versions 4A and 10

4.9  Aliases

     Users may define aliases for frequently-used addresses with the
DEFINE ALIAS command.  The syntax is as follows:

MS>define alias foo (to be) Long-unwieldy-name at 1031
To: foo
Subject: Hi there

Just testing...

     As with all other commands, the DEFINE command  may  appear  in
your  MS.INIT  file.  To delete an alias, just define it with a null
address (much like the EXEC's DEFINE command).  The  command  DEFINE
ALIAS * will remove all alias definitions.

     An alias may consist of either a single address, or a  list  of
addresses  separated  by commas.  The command SHOW ALIASES will dis-
play a list of all currently defined aliases and their expansions.

4.10  Address Lists

     You may define address lists with the DEFINE ADDRESS-LIST  com-
mand.   This works almost exactly like DEFINE ALIAS, with one excep-
tion:  The name of the list is shown in  the  mail  you  send.   For

MS>define address-list Small-group (to be) Smith, Jones, Chuck
MS>define address-list Whole-group (to be) Small-group, Fred, Joe

Now, sending mail to "small-group" will produce the  following  "To"

To: Small-group: Smith, Jones, Chuck;

and sending mail to "whole-group" will produce  the  following  "To"

To: Whole-group: Small-group: Smith, Jones, Chuck;, Fred, Joe;

     To delete an address-list definition, give the  command  DEFINE
ADDRESS-LIST  <name>  with  no argument.  To delete all address-list
definitions, give the command DEFINE ADDRESS-LIST *.
Release Notes for DECmail/MS version 10                       Page 9
Features added between versions 4A and 10


     This command causes MS to only display the  outermost  name  of
any  address  list in the "To" or "cc" fields of messages being dis-
played.   This  command  may  be  temporarily  overridden  with  the
VERBOSE-TYPE command, much like the SET ONLY-HEADERS-SHOWN command.


     It sometimes happens that you send a message, MS  transmits  it
successfully,  and  then  you  realize  belatedly that something was
amiss;  perhaps you forgot to include someone in the address  lists.
The  RETRIEVE LAST-MESSAGE command retrieves a copy of the last mes-
sage successfully sent and places you at send level, so that you can
correct the problem and try again.

4.13  Host Synonyms (applicable Only To DECNET Systems)

     System administrators may elect to provide synonyms  for  hosts
by  altering  the  DECNET-HOSTS.TXT  file  on  SYSTEM:.  To define a
synonym, enter the synonym name, and equals sign (), and the  "real"
host  name.   The  real  name  must  already have been defined.  For
example,  to   define   the   synonym   "Gus"   for   host   KL2137,


     For more information in the format of  SYSTEM:DECNET-HOSTS.TXT,
refer to the section titled "Installation Instructions".

4.14  System MS.INIT

     If SYSTEM:  contains an MS.INIT, the commands  in  it  will  be
processed  by  MS  upon  startup if the user does not have a private
MS.INIT.   This  is  especially  useful  for  defining   system-wide
aliases, address-lists, and header-items.
Release Notes for DECmail/MS version 10                      Page 10
Features added between versions 4A and 10

4.15  New Message-sequence Selectors

     The way you specify a message or messages to MS is by  using  a
construct  called  a "message sequence".  This can be a list of mes-
sage numbers, or a phrase describing a group of messages by  content
(e.g.,  "from  smith",  "since April 1").  MS version 10 has several
additional facilities for constructing message sequences.

4.15.1  Select Based On Keywords In The Message -

     You can now specify message sequences based on keywords  within
the  text of the message by saying KEYWORD <text>.  For instance, to
read all messages containing the word "foobat", you would say:

MS>read keyword foobat

4.15.2  Sort Based On Date And Time -

     The message sequence SORTED (BY) DATE-TIME selects messages  in
ascending date-time order.

4.15.3  Mixed Numbers And Keywords -

     Previously, if you specified any message numbers explicitly  in
a  message  sequence,  you were restricted to only numbers and could
not specify any keywords on the same line.  Now you can form message
sequences like:

MS>read 1,5,12:14,flagged

4.15.4  First N Messages - -

     You can also select the first n messages by saying:

MS>read first n
Release Notes for DECmail/MS version 10                      Page 11
Features added between versions 4A and 10

4.16  Nested Command Files

     Command files and init files may now  be  nested.   This  means
that  you may use the TAKE command inside an init file, or a command
file used by the TAKE command.

4.17  Multiword Usernames

     MS will now properly  handle  usernames  composed  of  multiple
words.   Of  course,  this  is  not particularly relevant to TOPS-20
users since TOPS-20 does not  allow  spaces  in  usernames.   It  is
useful,  though,  when  sending  messages  to other systems (such as
MULTICS) which do allow spaces in usernames.

4.18  Extended Host Specifications (path Specs)

     An "extended host specification" has the form:

        HOST1 at HOST2 at HOST3

     These are used either to describe a path in a store-and-forward
messaging environment, or to describe a path which crosses gateways.
MS now  supports  extended  host  specifications  in  the  following

     1.  If you wish to reply to a message whose "From:" field  con-
         tains  an  extended host spec, the REPLY command works.  No
         special actions are required.

     2.  Because MS validates hostnames (to allow recognition and to
         prevent  spelling  errors), and because making the names of
         all hosts in the world available to MS  for  validation  is
         impractical,  the  following restriction exists when typing
         in an extended host spec:  the entire address,  EXCEPT  for
         the  last  hostname and the word "at" immediately preceding
         it, must be enclosed in double quotes.  For example:

         To: "Fred Smith at MULTICS-HOST at ARPA-GATEWAY" at MARKET

         MS will remove the quotes before sending the mail, but  you
         must  type  them to prevent the command scanner from trying
         to parse MULTICS-HOST  (which  MS's  host  table  has  most
         likely never heard of).

[End of MS.DOC]