IEEE Standards Interpretations for IEEE Std 1003.2™-1992 IEEE Standard for Information Technology--Portable Operating System Interfaces (POSIX®)--Part 2: Shell and Utilities
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Interpretation Request #114
Topic: mailx default command Relevant Clauses: 4.40.7
In subclause 4.40.7, the Extended Description of the mailx command, (P342, L6328-L6330), it says: Regular commands are of the form [command] [msglist] [argument...] If not command is specified in command mode, print shall be assumed... While this language is clear, and corresponds well with the language in the SVID (mailx(au_cmd, p 6-44)), the actual historical behavior of this command should be expressed as follows: Regular commands are of the form [command] [msglist] [argument...] If not command is specified in command mode, next shall be assumed... I believe that this variance from actual historic practice was not intended. The rationale for mailx seems to carefully point out the cases where the standard differs from historic practice, but does not mention this issue.
The standard states the behavior for the form of regular commands in mailx, and conforming implementations must conform to this. However, concerns have been raised about this which are being referred to the sponsor.
Rationale for Interpretation