MH & nmh: Email for Users & Programmers

May, 2006

The -help and -version Switches

Any time you need a quick reminder of an MH command's switches, use the -help switch. For example, here's a list for scan:

    % scan -help
    syntax: scan [+folder] [msgs] [switches]
      switches are:
      -form formatfile
      -(forma)t string
      -width columns
      -(file) file
    profile: -form scan.timely

    version: MH 6.8.3 #1[UCI] (ora) of Sun Feb 13 14:19:54 PST 1994
    options: [ATTVIBUG] [BIND] [BSD42] [BSD43] [DUMB] [FLOCK] [GCOS_HACK]
The syntax: shows what kinds of things you can type on the command line. Some parts of some switches are shown in parentheses -- this is the shortest abbreviation you can use -- for example, you can type -forma instead of -format. But it doesn't show all abbreviations; for example, you can use -w instead of -width.

You'll get the profile: line in nmh as well as MH 6.8.4 and above. It shows your MH profile entry (here, -form scan.timely) for the command you're getting help on (here, scan).

The version: and options: information is important when you're asking questions or reporting bugs to someone who's not at your computer site. There are several versions of MH and lots of configuration options -- an expert may need to know how your MH is set up, and this information will explain it. The #1 means this was the first build of MH 6.8.3 on our computer named ora. Local changes and rebuilds will change this to #2, #3, etc. The options: are explained in your online mh-gen(8) manual page.

In nmh, the -help output doesn't have the version: and options: information. To get the version, put a -version switch on any command line. The build options are stored in the nmh configuration files -- but nmh has fewer build options than MH, so you often won't need to bother.