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AIX Version 4.3 Commands Reference, Volume 1

burst Command


Divides a message into separate, new messages.


burst+Folder ] [ Messages ] [ -inplace ] [ -noinplace ] [ -quiet ] [ -noquiet ] [ -verbose ] [ -noverbose ]


The burst command allows you to divide a message into multiple, new messages. The burst command operates on digests, messages forwarded by the forw command, and blind carbon copies sent by the forw and send commands. Messages created using the burst command are numbered consecutively, beginning with the next highest number in the specified folder.

The burst command can create about 1000 messages from a single message. However, the burst command generally does not place a specific limit on the number of messages in a folder after bursting is complete.

The burst command uses encapsulation boundaries to determine where to separate the encapsulated messages. If an encapsulation boundary is located within a message, the burst command may split that message into two or more messages.

By default, the first message extracted from the first digest becomes the current message. If the -inplace flag is specified, the first new message becomes the current message.


+Folder Specifies the folder containing the message to divide. By default, the system uses the current folder.
-help Lists the command syntax, available switches (toggles), and version information.
Note: For Message Handler (MH), the name of this flag must be fully spelled out.
-inplace Replaces each digest with a table of contents for the digest, places the messages contained in each digest directly after the digest's table of contents, and renumbers all subsequent messages in the folder to make room for the messages from the divided digest.
Attention: The burst command does not place text displayed after the last encapsulated message in a separate message. When you specify the -inplace flag, the burst command loses this trailing text. In digests, this text is usually an End-of-Digest string. However, if the sender appended remarks after the last encapsulated message, the burst command loses these remarks.
Messages Specifies the messages that you want to divide. This parameter may specify several messages, a range of messages, or a single message. Use the following references to specify messages:
Number of the message. When specifying several messages, separate each number with a comma. When specifying a range, separate the first and last number in the range with a hyphen.
A group of messages specified by the user. Recognized values include:

All messages in the folder.
cur or . (period)
Current message. This is the default.
First message in a folder.
Last message in a folder.
Message following the current message.
Message preceding the current message.
-noinplace Preserves each digest. This is the default.
-noquiet Reports information about messages not in digest format. This flag is the default.
-noverbose Prevents reporting of the actions the burst command performs while dividing the digests. This flag is the default.
-quiet Prevents reporting of information about messages not in digest format.
-verbose Reports the actions the burst command performs while dividing a digest.

Profile Entries

The following entries are entered in the UserMhDirectory/.mh_profile file:

Current-Folder: Sets the default current folder.
Msg-Protect: Sets the protection level for your new message files.
Path: Specifies a user's MH directory.


  1. The user receives message 5 from mickey@mouse containing several messages in digest form:
    5+ 03/02 mickey@mouse
    6+ 03/02 disney@world
    To burst message 5 into several, separate messages, enter:
    burst 5
    5+ 03/02 mickey@mouse
    6 03/02 disney@world
    7 first message in digest
    8 second message in digest
    9 third message in digest
    The resulting new messages are appended to the end of the folder. Message 5 remains intact and still contains all four messages.
  2. To burst message 5 using the -inplace flag, enter:
    burst 5 -inplace
    5+ 03/02 mickey@mouse
    6 first message in digest
    7 second message in digest
    8 third message in digest
    9 03/02 disney@world
    The resulting new messages are placed immediately after the digest, and the burst command renumbers all the messages that follow. Message 5 now contains only the header and text of the forwarded message.


$HOME/.mh_profile Contains the MH user profile.
/usr/bin/burst Contains the executable form of the burst command.

Related Information

The forw command, inc command, msh command, packf command, send command, show command.

The mh_alias file format, mh_profile file format.

Mail Overview in AIX Version 4.3 System User's Guide: Communications and Networks.

Peek, Jerry. MH and xmh: E-mail for Users and Programmers. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 1992.

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