Application-related Preferences

Choose the Application ... option to customize a number of parameters and variables in your Ishmail environment, including mail directory and file locations, print command, Web browser command, and Alert bell volume.

The preferences that you can set with this option apply to the Ishmail program in general or to the Main window. There are several other options for setting preferences specific to the Reading window, the Composition window, and so forth.

The decision about which parameter or variable should be placed into which preference window was made in a way that seemed logical to the developers of Ishmail. If you do not find a preference in the window you expect, keep looking. You will find it eventually.

Selecting the Application ... option launches the Application Preferences Window.

Figure: Application Preferences Window

Application Preferences Parameter Fields

You set or change parameters in the Mail Preferences dialog window by:

Specifying Application Message Preferences

This section describes the parameters you can specify in the Application Preferences window. The name of each parameter is shown, followed by a brief description of the parameter and an explanation of how to set or change the parameter. Default settings are provided where applicable.

Text fields scroll horizontally to accommodate text that is wider than the field's margins.

You can accept the default information in a text field or enter your own specification. The default text input editor for all text fields is the standard Motif text edit widget.

Environment variables specified in the text fields (such as $HOME), are expanded before being used. The tilde operator, for example, ~username, which specifies the home directory associated with username, is expanded if the command shell specified by the $SHELL environment variable allows it.

Check for new mail

This parameter sets the interval at which mail should be checked.

Enter a numerical value in this field if you wish to change the default value shown.

The default value in the text field is derived from the $MAILCHECK environment variable. If this variable is not set, the default mail checking interval is once every 60 seconds.

Sound alert when new mail arrives

Toggle this parameter On to cause a "beep" to sound or to have an Alert command executed each time new mail arrives (see Application Preferences Window for more information about setting Alert commands).

The default value for this parameter is On.

Alert bell volume

Drag the slider left to reduce the volume, or drag to the right to increase the volume.

Scroll to new messages as they arrive

This parameter causes newly arrived messages to be scrolled into view in your Main window message list.

The default value for this parameter is On.

Hide messages marked for deletion

Toggle this parameter On to cause messages that are marked for deletion to be removed (or hidden) from the Folder Contents list. You can restore "hidden" messages that have been marked for deletion by choosing the Undelete -> From list ... option from the Message pull-down menu before performing a save operation to the mail folder file.

The Undelete -> From list ... option is not available in the Message pull-down menu unless the Hide messages marked for deletion option is in effect.

If this parameter is toggled Off, messages that have been marked for deletion remain in the message list but are marked with a D flag. You can restore these messages by performing an undelete operation before performing the next save operation to the folder file.

The default value for this parameter is Off.

Mark messages for deletion after saving

Toggle this parameter On to cause messages to be marked for deletion after you save them. If this parameter is in effect, when you choose the Save option to save one or more messages, the messages will be copied to the default save file (also specified in the Mail Preferences window) and will be deleted from the current folder the next time you save changes to the folder.

The default value for this parameter is Off.

Mark New as Unread when folder is saved

This is the normal behavior of most mail programs. This option lets you tell at a glance whether mail has arrived since the last time you saved your folder (fresh mail is marked New) and whether your mail folder contains older messages that you still haven't read (older, unread messages are marked as Unread).

If you want messages to stay marked as New until you read them, regardless of whether the folder is saved, toggle this button off.

Save window positions on exit

Toggle this button on if you want Ishmail to remember the position and size of the Main, Reading, and Composition windows. These values are saved at the time you exit from Ishmail.

If you have more than one Reading or Composition window open, the size and position of the first of these windows is saved.

The default value is off.

Show quick help

Toggle this parameter Off if you don't want quick help messages to be displayed. Quick help messages are short helpful hints that can facilitate your use of the window interface. They are displayed at the bottom of Ishmail windows.

The default value for Show Quick Help is On.

Remember the most recent folders

Ishmail keeps a list of the most recently used folders, and presents this list when you select the Save to Folder (Recent) option (see Save Options). This gives you a quick way to pick folders without having to type their name or use the File Selection Window dialog.

The default value is 10.

Move Read messages to folder when in-box is saved

If you want messages you have read to be automatically moved to another folder when you save the In-Box, toggle this button on. This will result in only Unread messages remaining in the In-Box after it is saved, since Deleted messages are purged at this time also.

If you toggle this button on, you must also provide the name of a folder to use. The default name is +mbox. Note that the + is shorthand for your default folder directory.

The default value of this parameter is off.

Folder directory:

This field lets you specify the directory which is associated with the + or = character at the start of a folder name.

You can specify a full path name, such as /u/dave/Mail, or a relative path name. Relative path names are resolved starting from your home directory, $HOME.

The default value is Mail, thus the default folder directory is $HOME/Mail. Therefore, a folder specified as +xyz or =xyz is interpreted as $HOME/Mail/xyz.

Default save folder:

This parameter specifies which folder is used when you use the Save to: (default folder) function on a message, or group of messages. (See Save Options for more information about message save functions.)

Choices for the default folder are:

Always to
Specify the name of the default folder to be used with the Save to: (default folder) function.

Click the Always to: radio button and fill in the folder name to activate this option. The default folder name is +mbox.

Specify the criteria that will determine the name of the default folder to be used with the Save to: (default folder) function. Options are:

The folder name based on the name of the person (user) who sent you the message. In this case you also need to specify the directory which contains the folder.

For example, if you choose this option and specify Mail as the directory, when you save mail from it will be saved to $HOME/Mail/support.

To select this option:

  1. Click the By radio button

  2. Click the menu to the right of the By button and select User

  3. Fill in the to directory: field

The folder name is based on the full e-mail address of the person who sent you the message. This differs from the user option in that the user name is qualified by the e-mail domain. For example, you might receive mail from two users named tom in different domains, say and If you saved mail by user, mail from both would go to the same folder. Saving mail by address would put the mail into different folders: $HOME/Mail/ and $HOME/Mail/

To select this option:

  1. Click the By radio button

  2. Click the menu to the right of the By button and select Address

  3. Fill in the to directory: field

The folder name is based on a pattern matched in the headers of the mail message.

To select this option:

  1. Click the By radio button

  2. Click the menu to the right of the By button and select Pattern

  3. Fill in the to directory: field

If the folder name associated with the pattern specified in the Save Patterns window is a relative name, it is a folder in the directory you specify here. If a fully qualified path name is specified, then the directory name specified here is ignored.

Pattern or User
The Save Patterns are searched first for a match. If found, the folder used is the one associated with the pattern. If no match, then the folder name is determined by the user portion of the e-mail address.

Pattern or Address
The Save Patterns are searched first for a match. If found, the folder used is the one associated with the pattern. If no match, then the folder name is determined by the full e-mail address.

See Save Patterns Option for more information.

If the folder name generated by the User, Address, or Pattern option doesn't already exist, it will be created. The folder type is determined by the default specified in the Folder Preferences window. (See Folder Preferences Option for more information about specifying folder preferences.)

Automounter Prefix:

Some systems use a feature of NFS known as the automounter. If these terms don't mean anything to you, don't bother reading this section and don't worry about this parameter. In most cases, the presence of the automounter is transparent to programs such as Ishmail.

In some configurations, a special prefix will be added to automounted path names. Say your home directory is /home/greg, and it is automounted. Using the pwd command might return /tmp_mnt/home/greg. The addition of the automounter prefix, in this case /tmp_mnt, can cause problems.

For example: If you attach a file to a message using the Local File Attachment option (see Include/Attach Option), the automounter prefix may be added to the path name. On other systems in your network, the automounter may not be used, or it may use a different prefix. In either case, the path name of your attached file may not be reachable unless the automounter prefix is first stripped off.

This parameter lets you specify the automounter prefix, so that Ishmail can strip it off of file names before they are used. The default value for this parameter is (on most systems) is /tmp_mnt. Check with your system administrator for more information.

Default print command:

The default print command is pr | lp, which causes the message to be formatted into pages, each with a running header containing time and date, before sending it to the printer.

You can string multiple commands together in this field using the UNIX pipe operation, specified by a vertical bar (|) between command names.

This command is only used with plain text messages. Printing of Enriched Text messages, and any other type of printable data contained in a MIME message, is controlled by the mailcap file. (See
Mailcap File Definition.)

Web browser command:

Ishmail automatically recognizes addresses on the World Wide Web (known as URLs) which may be contained in mail messages, and highlights them in a different font or color. When you place the cursor on a URL and press the left mouse button while holding down the Ctrl key, the URL is sent to a Web browser command which will display the associated Web page.

This parameter lets you specify the Web browser command. Relative path names are resolved using your $PATH environment variable. The value of the URL is substituted for %s.

The default Web browser command is: Mosaic %s

Applying Your Changes

Use the row of buttons across the bottom of the dialog window you are working in to apply or cancel changes you've made in a preferences dialog window.

There are four options to choose from in all of the Options menu dialog windows. To apply your changes:

  1. Decide whether you want your changes to be permanent or temporary, and click the button corresponding to your choice:

    • Current session only

      If you choose Current session only, your changes are in effect only until you close the current mail session.

    • Current and future sessions

      If you choose Current and future sessions, your mail resource file is updated accordingly and your changes are in effect for future sessions.

  2. Click Apply to apply your changes and keep the window open. (The Apply option enables you to see the effect of your changes and immediately modify them.)

  3. Click Ok to apply your changes and close the window.

  4. Click Done to close the window without making any further changes. Changes you have already applied (by clicking Apply) stay in effect.

  5. Click Help if you require more information.

The custom resource file to which your changes are applied is $HOME/.ishmailrc. You can also edit this file outside of the Ishmail program. If the file already exists, the new or changed parameters will be merged with the contents of the file rather than simply overwriting the file. See Ishmail Resources for information about editing $HOME/.ishmailrc.

Preceding Section: Main Window Options Menu
Following Section: Message-related Preferences
Parent Section: Main Window Options Menu
Contents of Ishmail User's Guide