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Manual Pages  — COMSAT

NAME

comsat – biff server

CONTENTS

SYNOPSIS


comsat

DESCRIPTION

The comsat utility is the server process which receives reports of incoming mail and notifies users if they have requested this service. The comsat utility receives messages on a datagram port associated with the "biff" service specification (see services(5) and inetd(8)). The one line messages are of the form:

If the user specified is logged in to the system and the associated terminal has the owner execute bit turned on (by a "biff"), the offset is used as a seek offset into the appropriate mailbox file and the first 7 lines or 560 characters of the message are printed on the user's terminal. Lines which appear to be part of the message header other than the "From", "To", "Date", or "Subject" lines are not included in the displayed message.

If the user specified is logged in to the system and the associated terminal has the group execute bit turned on (by a "biff"), two bell characters ( ASCII \007) are printed on the user's terminal.

If mailbox-name omitted, standard mailbox assumed.

FILES

/var/run/utx.active
  to find out who is logged on and on what terminals
/var/mail/user
  standard mailbox

SEE ALSO

biff(1), inetd(8)

HISTORY

The comsat utility appeared in BSD 4.2 .

BUGS

The message header filtering is prone to error. The density of the information presented is near the theoretical minimum.

Users should be notified of mail which arrives on other machines than the one to which they are currently logged in.

The notification should appear in a separate window so it does not mess up the screen.


COMSAT (8) January 21, 2010

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Please direct any comments about this manual page service to Ben Bullock.

"I liken starting one's computing career with Unix, say as an undergraduate, to being born in East Africa. It is intolerably hot, your body is covered with lice and flies, you are malnourished and you suffer from numerous curable diseases. But, as far as young East Africans can tell, this is simply the natural condition and they live within it. By the time they find out differently, it is too late. They already think that the writing of shell scripts is a natural act."
— Ken Pier, Xerox PARC