For all of you who use the MAIL program as a form of the "paperless office", I have discovered a bug (pronounced "fea-ture") in same.
CC (carbon copy) was not officially supported in the mail program. But this bug allowed you to signal your intent to CC someone.
This thread is useful in illuminating a few things about the way mail is delivered and how to read mail headers.
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Date: January 09, 1984 11:40
For all of you who use the MAIL program as a form of the "paperless office", I have discovered a bug (pronounced "fea-ture") in same. It seems that the addressee line (TO: ...) is parsed independently of file handling. Mail looks at each item in the list, and checks for a double colon (which specifies node names). Then it does a logical translation of the node name, if any, and goes back to the "we expect a name here" part of the algorithm. The upshot of this is that you can have MORE than one node name on any addressee; this does not apply to list names (in the "@soandso" construct, the soandso must be a legal filename). What good it this, you ask? Well, the normal useful value is zip. Presumably it would just take the mail longer to be sent, cuz it would be routed through a longer path. HOWEVER, if you don't give it a normal name, you can use this feature (pronounced "BUG") in an abnormal way. If you: $ assign " " cc ! for mail then you can send mail To: him, her, them, CC::me, mine and any of the parties involved can have a nodename. The CC:: must have a double colon following it, and can have a nodename following that, for example, "cc::kim::suttles" is valid. The assign statement in the first line of this paragraph is required, either interactively or in your login.com (like I have in mine). The space between the quotes is required, cuz there must be some length to a logical name. The "value" is that you can show some intent in how (and maybe why) you are sending the letter to that person. You could just as easily create a logical name FYI or any other(s) along the same lines. They can be used as often or rarely as you like (to: FYI::him, FYI::her, CC::me, etc.). There is one more thing to consider. This is NOT a documented feature. It may not stick around in future versions of VMS. Then again, it may. I have tested it, and it works as I have described (did I mention you can add them? like: to: him, FYI::CC::ERNIE::you, etc) under the system we are now using. I am not going to stick CC in the system tables, since CC is also a command for compiling C programs (there is no conflict, but people MAY want to use CC as a logical name to point to their C sources, or to other things). FYI and the other possibilities will also not be in the system tables, since I don't know in advance which ones will be used and which won't, and I am also sure that you will come up with some of your own. Also, if DEC changes their mind and it goes away, I can say "I told you so!!". Actually, the real reason I am not going to stick any of that stuff in the system tables, is cuz I'm lazy. But don't tell Shepperd. sas
Jan 09, 1984