munpack - unpack messages in MIME or split-uuencode format
munpack [ -f ] [ -q ] [ -t ] [ -C directory ] [ filename ... ]
The munpack program reads each RFC-822 message filename and writes all
non-text MIME parts or split-uuencoded files as files. If no filename
argument is given, munpack reads from standard input.
If the message suggests a file name to use for the imbedded part, that
name is cleaned of potential problem characters and used for the output
file. If the suggested filename includes subdirectories, they will be
created as necessary. If the message does not suggest a file name, the
names "part1", "part2", etc are used in sequence.
If the imbedded part was preceded with textual information, that infor
mation is also written to a file. The file is named the same as the
imbedded part, with any filename extension replaced with ".desc".
-f Force overwriting of existing files. If a message suggests a
file name of an existing file, the file will be overwritten.
Without this flag, munpack appends ".1", ".2", etc to find a
-q Be quiet. Suppresses messages about saving partial messages and
about messages with no interesting information.
-t Also write the text MIME parts of multipart messages as files.
By default, text parts that do not have a filename parameter do
not get unpacked. This option effectively disables the ".desc"
file feature for MIME messages.
Change the current directory to directory before reading any
files. This is useful when invoking munpack from a mail or news
To decode a MIME message, first save it to a text file. If possible,
save it with all headers included. Munpack can decode some MIME files
when the headers are missing or incomplete, other files it cannot
decode without having the information in the headers. In general, mes
sages which have a statement at the beginning that they are in MIME
format can be decoded without the headers. Messages which have been
split into multiple parts generally require all headers in order to be
reassembled and decoded.
Some LAN-based mail systems and some mail providers (including America
Online, as of the writing of this document) place the mail headers at
the bottom of the message, instead of at the top of the message. If
you are having problems decoding a MIME message on such a system, you
need to convert the mail back into the standard format by removing the
systems nonstandard headers and moving the standard Internet headers
at the top of the message (separated from the message body with a blank
There must be exactly one message per file. Munpack cannot deal with
multiple messages in a single file, to decode things correctly it must
know when one message ends and the next one begins.
To decode a message, run the command:
where "file" is the name of the file containing the message. More than
one filename may be specified, munpack will try to decode the message
in each file. For more information on ways to run munpack, see the
section "OPTIONS" above.
TMPDIR Directory to store temporary files. Default is /var/tmp.
Directory used to store partial messages awaiting reassembly.