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3. Mailboxes: Oldies but Goodies > mbox: The Quick and Dirty on Unix Mailboxes

mbox: The Quick and Dirty on Unix Mailboxes

In case you haven’t come across an mbox file before, it’s basically just a large text file of concatenated mail messages that are easily accessible by text-based tools. The beginning of each message is signaled by a special From_ line formatted to the pattern "From user@example.com Fri Dec 25 00:06:42 2009", where the date/time stamp is asctime, a standardized fixed-width representation of a timestamp.

Note

The mbox format is very common, and most mail clients provide an “export” or “save as” option to export data to this format regardless of the underlying implementation.

In an mbox file, the boundary between messages is determined by a From_ line preceded (except for the first occurrence) by exactly two new lines. Example 3-1 is a small slice from a fictitious mbox containing two messages.


  

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