Interpretations

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

IEEE Standards Interpretation for IEEE Std 1003.1™-2001 IEEE Standard Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX®)

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Interpretation Request #89
Topic: mailx LC_TIME Relevant Sections: XCU mailx

The following text in utilities/mailx.html,

# LC_TIME
# Determine the format and contents of the date and time strings written by mailx.

seems to imply that all date and time strings written by mailx should be affected by the current locale. However, this may not affect date and time strings in Internet email and following the Unix 'From_' lines, because it would otherwise violate RFC 2822 or confuse implementations, respectively. Existing implementations seem to follow this rule in general.

Moreover, existing implementations generally seem to simply copy the date and time string following the 'From_' line of messages to the output when displaying header summaries. In effect, date and time strings are thus always shown as in the POSIX locale.

In IEEE Std 1003.2-1992, the text for LC_TIME was 'this variable may determine . . .'. This is still mentioned in the current rationale, but not in the standards text.

In any case, it should be made clear that LC_TIME does not apply to any parts of message formats, even if these formats are outside the scope of POSIX anyway.

LC_TIME should be made optional for mailx again.

Interpretation Response
The standards states the requirements for mailx and LC_TIME, and conforming implementations must conform to this. However, concerns have been raised about this which are being referred to the sponsor.

Rationale for Interpretation
None.