[TUHS] mh/hm, mmh (was: fmt(1): history, POSIX, -t, -c)

Ralph Corderoy ralph at inputplus.co.uk
Mon Jun 1 03:09:24 AEST 2020

Hi Clem,

> I believe it was Bruce Borden and team developed the original Rand
> Message Handler or MH.  I do not know who was the primary author, we
> need to ask Bruce or one of the old Rand folks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MH_Message_Handling_System#History says

    MH was proposed by R. Stockton Gaines and Norman Shapiro and
    developed by Bruce S. Borden and others at RAND Corporation.

and cites

Norman Shapiro, or Norm, is still using nmh well into his eighties, nmh
is a descendant of MH, and pops up on the nmh-workers mailing list to
either fill in bits of history or ask for installation advice as the
Linux distro shifts under his feet.  He did visit Bell Labs, though in
'54.  :-)  Details at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Shapiro

> The new format, used a line a control-As followed by a nl, before and
> after the message.

MH's mts.conf(5) had the ability to set mmdelim{1,2} to something other
than \ca\ca\ca\ca\n; no idea why.  And that magic marker would be
escaped if it occurred in the middle of a message, to \cb\ca\ca\ca\n.

> Note the part of the story I left out was when Rand MH spun out to one
> of the other Universities, UCI I think.

Wikipedia again:

    Subsequently development was taken over by Marshall T. Rose and John
    L. Romine working at University of California, Irvine.

    nmh... was forked [from that] by Richard Coleman while working at
    the Georgia Institute of Technology.  It incorporates the "LBL
    changes" made to MH in the late 80s by Van Jacobson, Mike Karels and
    Craig Leres.

MH also had support for UCI's bulletin boards called ‘BBoards’,
including on ZOTnet.  They were optionally available over POP3 and NNTP,
but only one or the other.  :-)  There was an MH shell of some kind
called msh, and a visual mh, vmh.

ZOTnet was a LAN for mail by Marshall Rose at UCI with gateways for
CSnet and ARPAnet.

    The ZOTnet: a local area mailing network, 1983

(I still use nmh and I'm using it for this reply.)

Cheers, Ralph.

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