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vacation - Man Page

reply to mail automatically


vacation [ -I | -i ]
vacation [ -j ] [ -h hostname ] [ -a alias ] [ -tN ] [ -r ] [ -? ] username


vacation automatically replies to incoming mail.  The reply is contained in the file .vacation.msg in your home directory.   The vacation program run interactively will create and/or edit a .vacation.msg file in your home directory. The old .vacation.msg will be backed up to .vacation.old file. Type vacation with no arguments.  (See Usage below.)

For example, the message created by vacation is:

Subject: away from my mail
From:  smith (via the vacation program)
I will not be reading my mail for a while. Your 
mail regarding "$SUBJECT" will be 
read when I return.

The .vacation.msg file should include a header with at least a `Subject:' line (it should not contain a `To:' line and need not contain a `From:' line, since these are generated automatically).

The fields `From', `From:' and `Reply-To:' are evaluated in the following order: If there is a `Reply-To:', and the option -r is given, then its entry is accepted. Otherwise, the entry of the `From:' field is taken. Should this entry lack a complete domain address (e.g. user@site instead of user@site.domain), vacation evaluates the `From' field, converting the contained UUCP bang path into a domain style address. If this fails too, vacation gives up.

If the string $SUBJECT appears in the .vacation.msg file, it is replaced with the subject of the original message when the reply is sent.  

No message is sent if the `To:' or the `Cc:' line does not list the user to whom the original message was sent or one of a number of aliases for them, if the initial From line includes one of the strings -request@, postmaster, uucp, mailer-daemon, mailer or -relay or if a `Precedence: bulk' or `Precedence: junk' or `Precedence: list' line is included in the header. The search for special  senders is made case-independent.


-I | -i

Initialize the .vacation.db file and start vacation.

If the -I flag is not specified, and a user argument is given, vacation reads the first line from the standard input (for a `From:' line, no colon). If absent, it produces an error message.  The following options may be specified:

-h hostname

Force vacation to create emails from hostname rather than the default domain name.  This is for situations where you might be using it to respond to a virtual domain, for example.

-a alias

Indicate that alias is one of the valid aliases for the user running vacation, so that mail addressed to that alias generates a reply.


Do not check whether the recipient appears in the `To:' or the `Cc:' line. Reply always.


Change the interval between repeat replies to the same sender. N is the number of days between replies. Default is one week.


If there is a `Reply-To:' header, send the automatic reply to the address given there. Otherwise, use the `From:' entry.


issue short usage line.


The vacation, create a .forward file in your home directory containing a line of the form:

\username, "|/usr/bin/vacation username"

where username is your login name. The original .forward will be backed up to .forward.old file.

Then type in the command:

vacation -I

To stop vacation, remove the .forward file, or move it to a new name.

If vacation is run with no arguments, it will create a new .vacation.msg file for you, using the editor specified by the VISUAL or EDITOR environment variable, or vi(1) if neither of those environment variables are set.  If a .forward file is not present in your home directory, it creates it for you, and automatically performs a `vacation -I' function, turning on vacation.




A list of senders is kept in the file .vacation.db in your home directory.

See Also

vi(1), sendmail(8)


vacation is Copyright (c) 1983 by Eric P. Allman, University of Berkeley, California, and Copyright (c) 1993 by Harald Milz (hm@seneca.ix.de). Tiny patches 1998 by Mark Seuffert (moak@pirate.de).

Previously maintained by Sean Rima (thecivvie@softhome.net), now maintained by Chris Samuel (chrissamuel at users.sourceforge.net) and Brian May (bmay at users.sourceforge.net).

Referenced By

procmailex(5), smrsh(8), vaclook(1).

March 2000 Unix User Manuals