[Solved] How to disable > quoting of lines starting with From in email body?

Bart Silverstrim bsilver at chrononomicon.com
Tue Jun 14 18:28:59 GMT 2005

On Jun 14, 2005, at 2:17 PM, Danny MacMillan wrote:

> On Sun, Jun 12, 2005 at 10:39:10PM -0600, Danny MacMillan wrote:
>> Hello,
>> Every time I read an email that has a line in the message body that
>> starts with the word "From", the line is quoted with a > character.
>> It is my understanding that this is done necessarily when email is
>> stored in the mbox format to distinguish lines that start new email
>> messages from lines that are just part of the message body and just
>> Happen to start with "From".  However, I am not using the mbox
>> message format.
>> I am using qmail with Maildir delivery as my MTA.  I read my email
>> using mutt to connect to a dovecot IMAP server, all built from
>> ports on a FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE machine.
>> I know this isn't a FreeBSD question per se, but I can't identify
>> the piece of software that is either a) inserting the > when it
>> shouldn't or b) not removing the > when it should.  I have done
>> my best to search the net for the answer but when the most
>> significant search term is the word "From" and the second most
>> significant is the > character ... well, let's just say I was
>> not successful and leave it at that.  I vaguely remember reading
>> something about it a long time ago before I myself was plagued
>> with the problem but I can't for the life of me remember where.
> It turns out that when I send the same email both to freebsd-test@
> and directly to the account I have subscribed to that list, the
> mail delivered via the list has the From line quoting and the other
> one doesn't.  So it looks like the list is actually sending the
> From lines quoted over the wire and my FreeBSD configuration is
> okay.  Most of the mail I read on this box is list traffic so
> I didn't notice.

On this list?  I forget what it's called now, but qualcomm had a method 
of quoting messages so that email would be indented properly on very 
small displays, and it's a format that Mail.app uses in quoting 
things...and I don't have the ">", but rather colored lines showing 
indenting, so from what I can tell there's a formatting code being put 
into the message to assist with proper word wrapping and the MUA is 
responsible for properly interpreting the text.

Perhaps it's a combination of factors; I remember some mail agents give 
you an option of how to prefix quoted messages (the >, custom 
characters, etc.).

Only other thing I could suggest would be a sniff dump of the messages 
flying over the wire then retracing them to find out exactly what's 
happening, or see if your MUA stores messages in a plain format that 
can be viewed on the console and see what exactly is in them (or use a 
hex editor on the source to see if there are non-visible characters 
embedded in the text for formatting purposes).

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