Written by Martin Wendel, ITS, Uppsala university. Martin.Wendel@its.uu.se


Emil has no mechanisms for handling spooling and message delivery errors. Instead it relies on what is supplied by other programs, for example sendmail, when it comes to handling these matters. Normally Emil is setup as such that an originating process calls Emil and sends a message to the stdin of Emil. After processing the message, Emil sends the output either to another process, called by Emil, or to a file or an SMTP stream. If sent to another process, and provided that the conversion is otherwise successful, the return code of that process will be returned by Emil to the originating process. If sent to a file or an SMTP stream, the return code sent to the originating process will be that of the conversion and output process made by Emil. In either case, the originiating process will not get a return code from Emil until all further processing and delivery, under control by Emil, is completed. This is to make sure that the originating process will never receive a "delivery successful" return code unless indicated successful by the subsequent process or by Emil.

Emil is designed to be transparent when it comes to delivery failures. A side effect of this is that a spooled copy of a message (for example by sendmail) will not be unlinked until either control is successfully handed over to another process (for example sendmail) or the message is safely delivered to a file or SMTP stream. This is how Emil can keep the working copy of a message in volatile memory without risking loss of messages. There is a negative bieffect of this as well; if you manage to construct a loop of sendmail-emil-sendmail-emil-sendmail your spool area will fill up almost instantly nomatter how small message you sent.

March 1996

ITS Uppsala university
Box 887
751 08 Uppsala

Martin Wendel E-Mail: