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MBLAZE(7) - Linux manual page online | Overview, conventions, and miscellany

Introduction to the mblaze message system.

January 6, 2018
MBLAZE(7) BSD Miscellaneous Information Manual MBLAZE(7)


mblaze — introduction to the mblaze message system


The mblaze message system is a set of Unix utilities for processing and interacting with mail messages which are stored in maildir folders. Its design is roughly inspired by MH, the RAND Message Handling System, but it is a complete implementation from scratch. mblaze consists of these Unix utilities that each do one job: maddr(1) extract mail addresses from messages magrep(1) search messages matching a pattern mbnc(1) bounce messages mcom(1) compose and send messages mdeliver(1) deliver messages or import mbox file mdirs(1) list maildir folders, recursively mexport(1) export messages as mbox file mflag(1) manipulate maildir flags mflow(1) reflow format=flowed plain text messages mfwd(1) forward messages mgenmid(1) generate a Message-ID mhdr(1) print message headers minc(1) incorporate new messages mless(1) conveniently read messages in less(1) mlist(1) list and filter messages mmime(1) create MIME messages mmkdir(1) create new maildir folders mpick(1) advanced message filter mrep(1) reply to messages mscan(1) generate one-line message summaries msed(1) manipulate message headers mseq(1) manipulate message sequences mshow(1) render messages and extract MIME parts msort(1) sort messages mthread(1) arrange messages into discussions mblaze is a classic command line MUA and has no features for receiving or transferring mes‐ sages; you can operate on messages in a local maildir spool, or fetch your messages using fdm(1), getmail(1), offlineimap(1), or similar utilities, and send it using dma(8), msmtp(1), sendmail(8), as provided by OpenSMTPD, Postfix, or similar. mblaze operates directly on maildir folders and doesn't use its own caches or databases. There is no setup needed for many uses. All utilities have been written with performance in mind. Enumeration of all messages in a maildir is avoided unless necessary, and then opti‐ mized to limit syscalls. Parsing message metadata is optimized to limit I/O requests. Ini‐ tial operations on a large maildir may feel slow, but as soon as they are in the file system cache, everything is blazingly fast. The utilities are written to be memory efficient (i.e. not wasteful), but whole messages are assumed to fit into RAM easily (one at a time). mblaze has been written from scratch and is now well tested, but it is not 100% RFC-conform‐ ing (which is neither worth it, nor desirable). There may be issues with very old, noncon‐ forming, messages. mblaze is written in portable C, using only POSIX functions (apart from a tiny Linux-only optimization), and has no external dependencies. It supports MIME and more than 7-bit mes‐ sages (everything the host iconv(3) can decode). It assumes you work in a UTF-8 environ‐ ment. mblaze works well with other Unix utilities such as mairix(1), mu(1), or offlineimap(1).


mblaze utilities are designed to be composed together in a pipe. They are suitable for interactive use and for scripting, and integrate well into a Unix workflow. For example, you could decide you want to look at all unseen messages in your INBOX, oldest first. mlist -s ~/Maildir/INBOX | msort -d | mscan To operate on a set of messages in multiple steps, you can save it as a sequence, e.g. add a call to ‘mseq -S’ to the above command: mlist -s ~/Maildir/INBOX | msort -d | mseq -S | mscan Now mscan will show message numbers and you could look at the first five messages at once, for example: mshow 1:5 Likewise, you could decide to incorporate (by moving from new to cur) all new messages in all folders, thread it and look at it interactively: mdirs ~/Maildir | xargs minc | mthread | mless Or you could list the attachments of the 20 largest messages in your INBOX: mlist ~/Maildir/INBOX | msort -S | tail -20 | mshow -t Or apply the patches from the current message: mshow -O. '*.diff' | patch As usual with pipes, the sky is the limit.


mblaze deals with messages (which are files), folders (which are maildir folders), sequences (which are newline-separated lists of messages, possibly saved on disk in ${MBLAZE:-$HOME/.mblaze}/seq), and the current message (kept as a symlink in ${MBLAZE:-$HOME/.mblaze}/cur). Messages in the saved sequence can be referred to using special syntax as explained in mmsg(7). Many utilities have a default behavior when used interactively from a terminal (e.g. operate on the current message or the current sequence). For scripting, you must make these argu‐ ments explicit. For configuration, see mblaze-profile(5).


mailx(1), mblaze-profile(5), nmh(7)


Leah Neukirchen <> There is a mailing list available at (to subscribe, send a message to and an IRC channel #vuxu on Please report security-related bugs directly to the author.


mblaze is in the public domain. To the extent possible under law, the creator of this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.
BSD January 6, 2018 BSD
This manual Reference Other manuals
mblaze(7) referred by mblaze-profile(5) | mmsg(7)
refer to dma(8) | fdm(1) | getmail(1) | iconv(3) | less(1) | maddr(1) | magrep(1) | mailx(1posix) | mairix(1) | mblaze-profile(5) | mcom(1) | mdeliver(1) | mdirs(1) | mexport(1) | mflag(1) | mflow(1) | mgenmid(1) | mhdr(1) | minc(1) | mless(1)
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