Last Updated Wed Nov 12 15:52:02 2008

email conversion

Email conversion from Elm, Pine VMS mail to Netscape 4.

There are three stages to conversion:

  1. Converting mail handling procedures so that new incoming mail is retrieved from the new server using IMAP or POP3, and new outgoing mail queued on the new server.
    See the Email Conversion Guide to set mail forwarding.
  2. Converting existing old mail folders so that they can be read using the new tools, and if uploaded to the IMAP server, accessed from arbitrary IMAP clients (e.g. Netscape).
    See here to move from the VMS cluster to trmail. See mail-extract to move from VMS to a different Unix (Linux, Irix) server.
  3. Converting existing email addressbooks and mailing lists to operate with the new tools (Netscape 4)
    See below.
There are some Perl scripts available, which can run under Unix or VMS, to convert from other mailbox and addressbook formats. Note that the converted addressbooks currently have to be loaded onto the computer where you run Netscape, not onto trmail.

Note on usage: If not installed, Perl scripts such as adrbook2ldif may be run eg.

# perl adrbook2ldif  ~/.addressbook  pine.ldif

$ perl usr1:[advax]vmsdis2ldif my.dis my.ldif

vmsdis2ldif will take a VMS distribution list (.DIS suffix by default) normally used as a VMS mail destination, e.g. "@users", and generate an LDIF addressbook format as used by Netscape 4. This may be copied to Unix or Windows and then imported into an existing Netscape addressbook. LDIF requires that all list entries also have individual entries; this is taken care of in the script but may lead to conflicts when importing multiple lists. It is possible to create multiple addressbooks, one for each list, to avoid potential conflict. When a new entry with the same email address is imported into an existing addressbook in Netscape 4, the old entry is overwritten. This may lead to the loss of edited data, such as contact information.

adrbook2ldif converts Unix Pine or Elm addressbooks into Netscape 4 LDIF format. Individual entries are converted to LDIF records, preserving information in all fields. Lists are generated using individual member entries where they exist, and creating extra entries where they do not. adrbook2ldif will also convert VMS files which use DCL "assign" or "define" to define VMS logical symbols for MX% addresses. Some effort is made to preserve comments and in many cases generate a full name record. However, many records will require review and editing.

Other mail conversion

The following Perl scripts will convert VMS mail to Unix: mail-extract will extract all VMS mail folders to individual Unix mailbox files, which may then be copied to a Unix system using NFS, ftp etc. Mail headers and MIME attachments are preserved. Local VMS and some DECNET addresses in the mail headers are translated into domain addresses, and MX% format addresses are translated to Internet style.

This tool may be invoked on VMS as e.g. "perl mail-extract. scr0:" (or "perl USR1:[ADVAX]mail-extract. scr0:"), which will extract all your VMS mail folders into a series of text files on SCR0: named *.VMS. These may then be placed in your Unix mail directory, typically ~/mail, where they may be opened in a Unix mail tool such as Netscape, Pine etc.

These scripts are available on the cluster as:

Related Pages:

Andrew Daviel
April 1999

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