The ability to inform a sender when a message is actually read is a very contentious issue, since many individuals would consider this to be an unacceptable invasion of privacy.
But there's a way! Sort of.
A while ago I had asked Dave Shepperd about having a MAIL program capa- bility of knowing whether a recipient has read an important message you have sent. Apparently lots of other people across the country using VAXes have also asked for this feature. No one can implement this feature because of the MAIL file protection system: only Digital Equipment can change its software. Unfortunately, Digital's official answer is: "The ability to inform a sender when a message is actually read is a very contentious issue, since many individuals would consider this to be an unacceptable invasion of privacy. Thus, there are no plans to implement such a feature in VMS MAIL." On the other hand, Digital says they are "investigating producing" new MAIL software that would "probably" have message trace capability. Sounds like a lot of vaporware. Dave told me the best he can offer you is the capability of seeing how many new unread mail messages that the recipient has. You can check for such information on anyone on our DECnet. At the operating-system level, type the following: $ MCR CHKMAIL username If the recipient is on another VAX, put the node name immediately ahead of the name with double colons, as in: $ MCR CHKMAIL KIM::username The response at your terminal will be: "User JOHNDOE on node WHATEVERVAX has __ new mail messages." If the user has no unread MAIL messages, you will get no response on your terminal other than the usual $ prompt. The only fly in the ointment is CHKMAIL's inaccuracy: at the moment you use this command, the recipient may have already read your important message and may have just received some other new MAIL message(s). The only guaran- tee of the user having read your message is when you get no response on your terminal. Anyway, good luck using CHKMAIL. Andrea
Feb 07, 1986