Answering questions that may arise related to the meaning of portions of an IEEE standard concerning specific applications.

IEEE Standards Interpretations for IEEE Std 1003.2™-1992 IEEE Standard for Information Technology--Portable Operating System Interfaces (POSIX®)--Part 2: Shell and Utilities

Copyright © 1996 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. 3 Park Avenue New York, New York 10016-5997 USA All Rights Reserved.

Interpretations are issued to explain and clarify the intent of a standard and do not constitute an alteration to the original standard. In addition, interpretations are not intended to supply consulting information. Permission is hereby granted to download and print one copy of this document. Individuals seeking permission to reproduce and/or distribute this document in its entirety or portions of this document must contact the IEEE Standards Department for the appropriate license. Use of the information contained in this document is at your own risk.

IEEE Standards Department, Copyrights and Permissions, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, New Jersey 08855-1331, USA

Interpretation Request #108
Topic: mailx edit command edits messages in sequence Relevant Clauses:

In subclause (Edit Messages), the Extended Description of the mailx command, (P349, L6628-6631), it says: Synopsis: e[dit] [msglist] Edit the given messages. The messages shall be placed in a temporary file and the utility named by the EDITOR variable (see shall be invoked to edit the file. The default editor is unspecified. While this language is clear, and corresponds well with the language in the SVID (mailx(au_cmd, p 6-46)), the actual historical behavior of this command should be expressed as follows: Edit the given messages. Each message shall be placed in a temporary file and the utility named by the EDITOR variable (see shall be invoked to edit each file in sequence. The default editor is unspecified. 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.

Interpretation Response
The standard states the behavior for edit, and conforming implementations must conform to this. However, concerns have been raised about this which are being referred to the sponsor.

Rationale for Interpretation