MH & nmh: Email for Users & Programmers

May, 2006

MH Profile

MH -- and front-ends, like xmh, through the MH commands they run -- use a file called the MH profile. By default, it's stored in your home directory and named .mh_profile (its name starts with a period, which makes it a hidden file that you won't see in an ls listing unless you use the -A or -a option). The MH profile defines your personal configuration for MH.

When you first use an MH command like inc, if your account doesn't already have an .mh_profile, the command will make one for you. The most basic MH profile has just one line: the Path: entry. (The MH manual pages use several different terms for these elements of the MH profile and similar files: component, entry, and line. In this book, I use the term entry.) You can add to or edit the file any time -- in fact, as you learn more about MH, you'll probably want to make a few changes.

The Example below is a fairly short MH profile.

Example: Short MH profile

    Path: Mail
    Folder-protect: 750
    Msg-protect: 640
    Signature: Emma H. User
    repl: -annotate
    scan: -form scan.time
    
That MH profile says that your MH directory is named Mail and stored in your home directory. It sets the default file access modes, with the numbers used by chmod(1), for folders and messages. The fourth entry tells MH how your name should look in the From: header field of messages you send. (The MH manual pages call these header components. Many email users call them headers. The term used in Internet standards documents like RFC 822 and RFC 1521 is header fields. I use that term in this book.) The last two entries make -annotate a default switch for the repl command and change the display format of the scan command.

Your MH profile can't have blank lines in it. Another Section has detailed information and a longer example. Also see the mh-profile(5) manual page (for help finding online manual pages, see the Section Online Manual Pages).