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Re: The Manual about the MAIL environment is misleading

From: Chet Ramey
Subject: Re: The Manual about the MAIL environment is misleading
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2016 11:54:08 -0400
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On 7/13/16 8:37 AM, address@hidden wrote:

> Bash Version: 4.3
> Patch Level: 42
> Release Status: release
> Description:
>       In a bash session where the MAIL variable is not explicitly set, the 
> MAIL variable might be auto-set through a compile time definition of 
> DEFAULT_MAIL_DIRECTORY. There is no method (no method I know of) to find 
> about about these compile time definitions and / or configuration flags.
>       To find out about this bevaiour I needed to read the source code and 
> finally found this line in CHANGES:
>       hhh. Improved the mail checking code so it won't check (and possibly 
> cause an
>            NFS file system mount) until MAILPATH or MAIL is given a value -- 
> there
>            is no default if DEFAULT_MAIL_DIRECTORY is not defined at compile 
> time.
> Repeat-By:
>       Install bash and remove all occurences of MAIL= or similar from the 
> several profile and rc files.
> Fix:
>       Please describe the dependency of the MAIL variables on the manual 
> page. If you manage to do so, add the value of DEFAULT_MAIL_DIRECTORY and 
> it's effects in the generated manual pages.

The precedence of the MAIL and MAILPATH variables is already described in
the man page.  I will look at changes to the man page to indicate that
there is no default value for MAILPATH; there is some language in there
that implies bash sets a default value (which it did in the past).

The manual page describes bash as I distribute it.  If a vendor or
distribution wishes to change the default, to supply a default for
MAILPATH, for example, I expect them to modify the documentation for
their distribution to reflect that.  Some do, many don't.

``The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.'' - Chaucer
                 ``Ars longa, vita brevis'' - Hippocrates
Chet Ramey, UTech, CWRU    address@hidden    http://cnswww.cns.cwru.edu/~chet/

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