MH & nmh: Email for Users & Programmers

May, 2006


The MH Message Handling System is a set of electronic mail programs in the public domain. If your computer runs UNIX, it can probably run MH -- and it's more likely to be able to run nmh, a new and free version that generally builds more easily and has more bugs fixed. MH is free, powerful, flexible -- and the basics are easy to learn. nmh works like MH; in most places, you won't notice any difference -- and, where there are differences, we'll tell you.

This book starts with an introduction to electronic mail; if you've never used email, that's a good place to start. If you'll be using MIME multimedia email, read the introductory MIME chapter. Next is an overview and tour of MH 6.8.4 and nmh-1.0. You can start sending and reading mail with MH right away, by following the examples and step by step instructions in the tour. In just a few pages, you'll have the flavor of the system and a hint of the advanced features. After the tour, a series of chapters give detailed information about using and customizing MH.

This book also covers three popular interfaces, or front ends, to MH. There's a step-by-step tour for each interface that will have you sending and reading mail within a few pages.

Other chapters build on these tours to show you more features and help you customize the programs if you want to. One Chapter explains how to program with MH -- to get the most out of it, you should have done some computer programming. There are useful programming examples sprinkled through the book. A Section explains the programs in this book's online archive file. But even if you've never programmed, you should be able to get most of these programs running with just a little help from a friend.