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Unix ticks over, Marcel falls over

Published: 15th Sep 2001, 00:09:33 | Permalink | Printable

Paul Vigay today issues a emergency patch for Marcel users

Here's a bit of trivia: RISC OS stores the current time and date as the number of centiseconds elapsed since midnight 1st Jan 1900. When the user wants to see or change the date, this large number is converted into a more human readable form, such as Fri,14 Sep 2001.18:19:35. Similarly, the established, widely used, free and therefore popular OS Unix stores its time and date as the number of seconds elapsed since 1st Jan 1970. At around 1:46am on the 9th this month, the time count for all Unix machines and programs that use the Unix time standard ticked over to 1,000,000,000. Being the intrepid editor that I am, I sat up all night waiting for that moment (dubbed the Billennium) and watched the time tick over 1E9. It was a happy event but little did we know of the unseen repercussions this would have on a particular well known RISC OS email client. The problems first came to light when the RISC OS newsgroups began filling up with people complaining that Marcel was receiving empty emails.

The email client Marcel, due to be bundled with RISC OS 4+ (Select) this month as part of the recently RISCOS Ltd. accquired ANT suite, uses the Unix time standard (as per the function time() )to generate the headers of emails. These headers describe how the email was sent and received as well as setting the email's subject. The headers are usually separated from the main email body by a blank new line. However, with this Unix rollover, the extra digit has caused the headers to run into the first paragraph of any emails read using Marcel (to be specific, it's down to the mail transport agent 'mta', a module used by Marcel). This causes Marcel to treat the first paragraph as part of the headers and you will therefore not normally see them.

Thankfully ANT suite developer Paul Vigay, often referred to as the Paul Vigay by iconbar.com, (we'd like to know if there are any Paul Vigay imposters ;), has stepped in today to release the patch required to fix Marcel's mta.

"As discussed on some of the Acorn newsgroups and mailing lists, some messages have been displaying as blank when using Marcel with the RISC OS Internet Suite (formerly the Ant Internet Suite)", explains Paul. "This was due to a buffer overflow bug in the mail transport agent (mta) module inside !InetSuite.RMStore."
This should work with InetSuite version 1.32 and greater and installation instructions are provided with the patch. You are advised to take a backup of your existing !InetSuite.RMStore.mta before installing the new one and also to let Paul know if you run into any problems.

Marcel Patch: www.vigay.com/cgi-bin/search?a=inetupgrades

Chris Williams

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"The" Paul Vigay came about because people would meet him at shows and say 'Are you /the/ Paul Vigay'? like there'd be two of him. So it's a kind of wink towards Paul's unofficial 'fan club' :)

This is completely different to Richard Foster's experiences, who, on going to a show after joining ArgoNet had people coming up to him and saying, 'nah, you're Richard Goodwin really aren't you?' :)

Rich

 is a RISC OS User on 17/9/01 11:26AM
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Heh and now we know :) I've got this lovely Microsoft baseball cap I intend to wear to the next RISC OS show. I'll either get recognised or thrown out ;) -- chris@drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 17/9/01 11:57AM
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