vacation - reply to mail automatically
vacation [-a alias] [-f database_file] [-j] [-m
message_file] [-s sender] [-tN] username
The vacation utility automatically replies to incoming mail.
The installation consists of an interactive program which
sets up vacation's basic configuration.
To install vacation, type it with no arguments on the com-
mand line. The program creates a .vacation.msg file, which
contains the message that is automatically sent to all
senders when vacation is enabled, and starts an editor for
you to modify the message. (See USAGE section.) Which editor
is invoked is determined by the VISUAL or EDITOR environment
variable, or vi(1) if neither of those environment variables
A .forward file is also created if one does not exist in
your home directory. Once created, the .forward file will
contain a line of the form:
\username, "|/usr/bin/vacation username"
One copy of an incoming message is sent to the username and
another copy is piped into vacation.
If a .forward file is present in your home directory, it
will ask whether you want to remove it, which disables vaca-
tion and ends the installation.
The program automatically creates .vacation.pag and
.vacation.dir, which contain a list of senders when vacation
Activation and Deactivation
The presence of the .forward file determines whether or not
vacation is disabled or enabled. To disable vacation, remove
the .forward file, or move it to a new name.
The -I option clears the vacation log files, .vacation.pag
and .vacation.dir, erasing the list of senders from a previ-
ous vacation session. (See OPTIONS section.)
vacation provides configuration options that are not part of
the installation, these being -a, -f, -j, -m, -s, and -t.
(See OPTIONS section.)
The following options are supported:
-I Initializes the .vacation.pag and .vacation.dir files
and enables 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.
Options -a, -f, -j, -m, -t, and -s are configuration options
to be used in conjunction with vacation in the .forward
file, not on the command line. For example,
\username, "|/usr/bin/vacation -t1m username"
repeats replies to the sender every minute.
Indicates that alias is one of the valid aliases for
the user running vacation, so that mail addressed to
that alias generates a reply.
Uses file instead of .vacation as the base name for
the database file.
-j Does not check whether the recipient appears in the
To: or the Cc: line. Warning: use of this option can
result in vacation replies being sent to mailing lists
and other inappropriate places; its use is therefore
Uses file instead of .vacation.msg as the message to
send for the reply.
Replies to sender instead of the value read from the
UNIX From line of the incoming message.
-tN Changes the interval between repeat replies to the
same sender. The default is 1 week. A trailing s, m,
h, d, or w scales N to seconds, minutes, hours, days,
or weeks, respectively.
.vacation.msg should include a header with at least a Sub-
ject: line (it should not include a To: line). For example:
Subject: I am on vacation
I am on vacation until July 22. If you have something urgent,
please contact Joe Jones (jones@fB0).
If the string $SUBJECT appears in the .vacation.msg file, it
is replaced with the subject of the original message when
the reply is sent; thus, a .vacation.msg file such as
Subject: I am on vacation
I am on vacation until July 22.
Your mail regarding "$SUBJECT" will be read when I return.
If you have something urgent, please contact
Joe Jones (jones@fB0).
will include the subject of the message in the reply.
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 the string -REQUEST@, or if a Precedence: bulk or
Precedence: junk line is included in the header.
vacation will also not respond to mail from either postmas-
ter or Mailer-Daemon.
A list of senders is kept in the dbm format files
.vacation.pag and .vacation.dir in your home directory.
These files are dbm files and cannot be viewed directly with
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attri-
| ATTRIBUTE TYPE | ATTRIBUTE VALUE |
| Availability | SUNWcsu |
vi(1), sendmail(1M), dbm(3UCB), getusershell(3C),
aliases(4), shells(4), attributes(5)
Man(1) output converted with