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Re: Path modification

jon@dominia.dyn.dhs.org (Jon Eisenstein) wrote:


> Some people have argued that people who installed mh would be used to
> adding it to their PATH. However, I'm not a longtime user of mh, but I
> had to install it to use other programs that interfaced with
> it. Therefore, I'd expect to be able to use it from the command line
> like any other program, without much work.

Personally, I'm surprised that you consider modifying the PATH variable
to be "much work."

> In fact, this is the first time using Debian that I've ever needed to
> modify the PATH.

Welcome to the world of Unix.  The PATH environment variable is a
powerful and useful tool.  I suggest that you study it and learn how it
can be used to make life easier.

> The point is, I don't think you can just brush this off as "If they
> installed it, they should know this out-of-the-ordinary way to get it
> to work".

For MH, this *is* the ordinary way.  Furthermore, this way is supported
by over 20 years of experience on many platforms, not just Debian or
Linux.  The experience gained over these years suggests that it is best
for the MH commands to reside in their own directory.

> I've never seen any other package act like this. For example,
> installing services don't just put the files in directories and leave
> it at that, telling the user that they should add them to rc
> files. For the most part, they insert themselves automatically with
> update-rc.

Then your experience with Debian leaves much to be desired.  Not all
services are activated by default.  Look at ntpdate, where the admin
must comment out a couple of lines in /etc/init.d/ntpdate before it will
run.  Look at bsdmainutils, where a line must be commented out in
/etc/cron.daily/calendar before the calendar service will run every
night.  There are other services which will not work (and cannot work)
unless they have been properly configured.

This is a poor argument.

> On the other hand, mh doesn't even tell the user in the first place!

Yes it does.  It says so plainly in the manual page.  How in the hell
did you know which MH commands to run in the first place?  How did you
know what the commands do?  The only obvious way that I can see to find
this information is to read the nmh man page (which catalogs all of the
MH commands), and this man page clearly states that the path must be
modified to use nmh from the command line.

I'm sorry, but this is clearly a case of RTFM.

- Brian

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