mpack/munpack version 1.6 for unix
Mpack and munpack are utilities for encoding and decoding
(respectively) binary files in MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail
Extensions) format mail messages. For compatibility with older forms
of transferring binary files, the munpack program can also decode
messages in split-uuencoded format. The Macintosh version can also
decode messages in split-BinHex format.
The canonical FTP site for this software is ftp.andrew.cmu.edu:pub/mpack/
Binaries are no longer provided. The pc, os2, amiga and archimedes ports
have been removed. The mac version probably doesn't compile anymore, but
is still included (MacOS X users can use the unix version...)
This MIME implementation is intended to be as simple and portable as
possible. For a slightly more sophisticated MIME implementation, see
the program MetaMail, available via anonymous FTP to
thumper.bellcore.com, in directory pub/nsb
Decoding MIME messages:
First, you have to compile the munpack program. See the instructions
in the section "Compilation" below. If, after reading the
instructions, you are still unsure as to how to compile munpack,
please try to find someone locally to help you.
To decode a MIME message, first save it to a text file. If possible,
save it with all headers included. Munpack can decode some MIME files
when the headers are missing or incomplete, other files it cannot
decode without having the information in the headers. In general,
messages which have a statement at the beginning that they are in MIME
format can be decoded without the headers. Messages which have been
split into multiple parts generally require all headers in order to be
reassembled and decoded.
Some LAN-based mail systems and some mail providers (including America
Online, as of the writing of this document) place the mail headers at
the bottom of the message, instead of at the top of the message. If
you are having problems decoding a MIME message on such a system, you
need to convert the mail back into the standard format by removing the
system's nonstandard headers and moving the standard Internet headers
to the top of the message (separated from the message body with a
There must be exactly one message per file. Munpack cannot deal with
multiple messages in a single file, to decode things correctly it must
know when one message ends and the next one begins.
To decode a message, run the command:
where "file" is the name of the file containing the message. More than
one filename may be specified, munpack will try to decode the message in
each file. For more information on ways to run munpack, see the section
"Using munpack" below.
Bugs and comments should be reported to email@example.com.
When reporting bugs or other problems, please include the following
* The version number of Mpack
* The platform (Unix, PC, OS/2, Mac, Amiga, Archimedes)
* The EXACT output of any unsuccessful attempts.
* If having a problem decoding, the first couple of lines
of the input file.
Mpack uses autoconf and automake on unix.
refer to INSTALL for more information
Mpack is used to encode a file into one or more MIME format messages.
The program is invoked with:
mpack [options] -o outputfile file
mpack [options] file address...
mpack [options] -n newsgroups file
Where "[options]" is one or more optional switches described below.
"-o outputfile" is also described below. "file" is the name of the
file to encode, "address..." is one or more e-mail address to mail the
resulting messages to and "newsgroups" is a comma-separated list of
newsgroups to post the resulting messages to.
The possible options are:
Set the Subject header field to Subject. By default,
mpack will prompt for the contents of the subject
Include the contents of the file descriptionfile in an
introductory section at the beginning of the first
Split the message (if necessary) into partial messages,
each not exceeding maxsize characters. The default
limit is the value of the SPLITSIZE environment
variable, or no limit if the environment variable
does not exist. Specifying a maxsize of 0 means there
is no limit to the size of the generated message.
Label the included file as being of MIME type
content-type, which must be a subtype of application,
audio, image, or video. If this switch is not given,
mpack examines the file to determine its type.
Write the generated message to the file outputfile. If
the message has to be split, the partial messages will
instead be written to the files outputfile.01,
The environment variables which control mpack's behavior are:
Default value of the -m switch. Default "0".
Directory to store temporary files. Default "/tmp".
Munpack is used to decode one or more messages in MIME or
split-uuencoded format and extract the embedded files. The program is
munpack [options] filename...
which reads the messages in the files "filename...". Munpack may also
be invoked with just:
which reads a message from the standard input.
If the message suggests a file name to use for the imbedded part, that
name is cleaned of potential problem characters and used for the
output file. If the suggested filename includes subdirectories, they
will be created as necessary. If the message does not suggest a file
name, the names "part1", "part2", etc are used in sequence.
If the imbedded part was preceded with textual information, that
information is also written to a file. The file is named the same as
the imbedded part, with any filename extension replaced with
The possible options are:
Forces the overwriting of existing files. If a message
suggests a file name of an existing file, the file will be
overwritten. Without this flag, munpack appends ".1", ".2",
etc to find a nonexistent file.
Also unpack the text parts of multipart messages to files.
By default, text parts that do not have a filename parameter
do not get unpacked.
Be quiet--suppress messages about saving partial messages.
Change the current directory to "directory" before reading
any files. This is useful when invoking munpack
from a mail or news reader.
The environment variables which control munpack's behavior are:
Root of directory to store partial messages awaiting
reassembly. Default is "/var/tmp". Partial messages
are stored in subdirectories of $TMPDIR/m-prts-$USER/
Written by John G. Myers, firstname.lastname@example.org
The mac version was written by Christopher J. Newman, email@example.com
Send all bug reports to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Nathaniel Borenstein for testing early versions of mpack and
for making many helpful suggestions.
The mpack 1.6 distribution is not pgp signed.
(C) Copyright 1993,1994 by Carnegie Mellon University
All Rights Reserved.
Permission to use, copy, modify, distribute, and sell this software
and its documentation for any purpose is hereby granted without fee,
provided that the above copyright notice appear in all copies and that
both that copyright notice and this permission notice appear in
supporting documentation, and that the name of Carnegie Mellon
University not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to
distribution of the software without specific, written prior
permission. Carnegie Mellon University makes no representations about
the suitability of this software for any purpose. It is provided "as
is" without express or implied warranty.
CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES WITH REGARD TO
THIS SOFTWARE, INCLUDING ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY
AND FITNESS, IN NO EVENT SHALL CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY BE LIABLE
FOR ANY SPECIAL, INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR ANY DAMAGES
WHATSOEVER RESULTING FROM LOSS OF USE, DATA OR PROFITS, WHETHER IN
AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER TORTIOUS ACTION, ARISING
OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OR PERFORMANCE OF THIS
Portions of this software are derived from code written by Bell
Communications Research, Inc. (Bellcore) and by RSA Data Security,
Inc. and bear similar copyrights and disclaimers of warranty.