vacation -- notify mail sender that recipient is away


/usr/bin/vacation [ -d ] [ address ]


The vacation command makes it possible for you to notify the sender of a message that you are away on a trip and you will not be answering your mail for some time. sendmail(1M) runs vacation on your behalf rather than you running it directly.

To enable use of vacation, put the following line in your .maildelivery file:

   *    -    pipe    R    vacation
Make sure that your .maildelivery file is not writable by anyone but you. You may also place a ``custom'' reply message in a file named tripnote. Finally, you should create an empty triplog file.

When vacation processes a message, it decides:

The vacation command decides whether this is the type of message that should get a reply by looking at the contents of the ``Resent-To:'', ``Resent-Cc:'', ``To:'' and ``Cc:'' header fields. If the recipient has an .alter_egos file (described next), then one of the addresses in that file must appear in one of these header fields for a reply to be sent. If the recipient does not have an .alter_egos file, then the recipient's name or a first-order alias of the recipient's name (for example, dlong-->long) must appear in one of these header fields for a reply to be sent. This procedure ensures that vacation will not reply to messages sent to mailing lists, unless the recipient's name (or some variant of the recipient's name) is explicitly mentioned in a header field.

If vacation decides it should send a reply to the message, it looks at several other address fields to determine to whom the reply should be sent. It uses, in order of precedence:

  1. addresses in ``Resent-Reply-To:''

  2. addresses in ``Resent-From:'' and, if present, ``Resent-Sender:''

  3. addresses in ``Reply-To:''

  4. addresses in ``From:'' and either ``Sender:'', if present, or the address argument from the command line.
The vacation command notifies any originator of mail who has not previously been notified unless you pre-load their address into the triplog file (refer to the ``Files'' section). The reply begins with some standard text (supplied by vacation) followed by whatever text the user has placed in the tripnote file, or the following message if the tripnote file is missing:
           This is an automatic reply to email you recently sent
   to $USER.  Additional mail to $USER will not result in
   further replies. This mail indicates that the user is not
   responding to your message for the following reason:

No pre-recorded message file was left by the user. However, this feature of the mail system is normally used during vacations and other extended absences.

The Mail System

The originators' names are recorded in triplog.


Contains the subject header for the mail vacation sends. The default subject is Absence (Automatic reply).

Contains a reply message to be sent to those sending you mail.

Contains a list of each user whose mail vacation responded to. It can also be initialized by hand to contain the addresses, one per line, that are not to receive replies.

if it exists, becomes an output file for logging diagnostic information. If the -d option is specified, then extensive output is generated for debugging purposes. It is not a good idea to leave -d enabled if this file is left lying around, as the output can be quite voluminous.

an optional file composed of ``user@domain'' lines for all addresses to be considered `you'. This is needed if you have multiple hosts forwarding their mail to you. If this file is present, then the standard comparisons against your username and first-level aliases of your username do not occur.

is your mail delivery specification file. The previous example shows the line that should be added to .maildelivery to enable use of vacation. You may need to give the full pathname of vacation if it is not in your search path.

© 2004 The SCO Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
UnixWare 7 Release 7.1.4 - 25 April 2004