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A detailed description of MH, a message handling system built on the UNIX time-sharing system that enables users to compose, send, receive, store, retrieve, forward, and reply to messages. The design of MH is based on a different approach than is usually used for large systems. The command interface to MH is the UNIX "shell" (the standard UNIX command interpreter), and each message handling activity is a separate command. Each program is driven from and updates a private user environment which contains information permitting MH to be custom tailored. MH stores each message as a separate file and utilizes the tree-structured UNIX file system to organize groups of files into directories, or "folders." All UNIX facilities for dealing with files and directories are applicable to messages and folders, obviating the need for code that duplicates the supporting-system facilities. This report will familiarize nonusers with the general features of message handling systems, and it provides a complete user's manual for system users.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.