Mail Vacation Messages
When one goes on vacation, one often wants to send an automatic e-mail to all those who send e-mail informing them to expect a response at a later date. This document describes how to set up the e-mail vacation mechanism.
The Vacation Message File
The first step in setting up the e-mail vacation mechanism is to create/edit the vacation message file -- ~/.vacation.msg. The variable $header_subject: (note the mandatory ":" at the end) can be used to incorporate the subject of the sender's message in the body of the vacation response.
The following is an example of a ~/.vacation.msg file:
I am away from Jerusalem and will return on Monday, June 18, 2007.
Your mail regarding "$header_Subject:" will be read when I return.
Please direct any administrative requests to "kenan@cs".
Enabling the Vacation Mechanism
The following command will enable the vacation mechanism:
echo real-login, vacation-login > ~/.forward
where login is the user's CSE login.
echo real-coheng, vacation-coheng > ~/.forward
Enabling the Vacation Mechanism along with Mail Forwarding
To both enable the vacation mechanism and forward a copy of one's mail to another e-mail address, do the following:
echo real-login, vacation-login, email@example.com > ~/.forward
where login is the user's CSE login and firstname.lastname@example.org is the remote address.
echo real-coheng, vacation-coheng, email@example.com > ~/.forward
For further details on mail forwarding, see Forwarding Incoming Mail.
Disabling the Vacation Mechanism
To disable the vacation mechanism, simply remove the ~/.forward file -- i.e.
What the Sender will Receive
The sender of a message to a person with the vacation mechanism enabled will receive an automatic message with the subject "I am out of town" with the contents of the message being the recipient's ~/.vacation.msg file having substituted the sender's message's subject in the variable $header_subject:.
Note that if the sender sends a number of messages to the recipient during the same vacation period, the sender will only receive an automated vacation message once a week.
Users with Complex ~/.forward Files
Users that have Exim filters as their ~/.forward should not use this vacation mechanism, but rather the explicit vacation mechanism described in the document http://www.exim.org/exim-html-4.66/doc/html/filter.html#CHAPeximfilter