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Andrew Main (Zefram) > Data-ID-Exim-0.008 > Data::ID::Exim



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Module Version: 0.008   Source   Latest Release: Data-ID-Exim-0.009


Data::ID::Exim - generate Exim message IDs


        use Data::ID::Exim qw(exim_mid);

        $mid = exim_mid;

        use Data::ID::Exim qw(exim_mid_time read_exim_mid);

        $mid_time = exim_mid_time(Time::Unix::time());
        ($sec, $usec, $pid) = read_exim_mid($mid);

        use Data::ID::Exim qw(base62 read_base62);

        $digits = base62(3, $value);
        $value = read_base62($digits);


This module supplies a function which generates IDs using the algorithm that the Exim MTA uses to generate message IDs. It also supplies functions to manipulate such IDs, and the base 62 encoding in isolation.



Generates an Exim message ID. (This ID may, of course, be used to label things other than mail messages, but Exim refers to them as message IDs.) The ID is based on the time and process ID, such that it is guaranteed to be unique among IDs generated by this algorithm on this host. This function is completely interoperable with Exim, in the sense that it uses exactly the same algorithm so that the uniqueness guarantee applies between IDs generated by this function and by Exim itself.

The format of the message ID is three groups of base 62 digits, separated by hyphens. The first group, of six digits, gives the integral number of seconds since the epoch. The second group, also of six digits, gives the process ID. The third group, of two digits, gives the fractional part of the number of seconds since the epoch, in units of 1/2000 of a second (500 us). The function does not return until the clock has advanced far enough that another call would generate a different ID.

The strange structure of the ID comes from compatibility with earlier versions of Exim, in which the last two digits were a sequence number.


Exim has limited support for making message IDs unique among a group of hosts. Each host is assigned a number in the range 0 to 16 inclusive. The last two digits of the message IDs give the host number multiplied by 200 plus the fractional part of the number of seconds since the epoch in units of 1/200 of a second (5 ms). This makes message IDs unique across the group of hosts, at the expense of generation rate.

To generate this style of ID, pass the host number to exim_mid. The host number must be configured by some out-of-band mechanism.


Because the first section of an Exim message ID encodes the time to a resolution of a second, these IDs sort in a useful way. For the purposes of lexical comparison using this feature, it is sometimes useful to construct a string encoding a specified time in Exim message ID format. (This can also be used as a very concise clock display.)

This function constructs the initial time portion of an Exim message ID. TIME must be an integral Unix time number. The corresponding six-base62-digit string is returned.


This function extracts the information encoded in an Exim message ID. This is a slightly naughty thing to do: the ID should really only be used as a unique identifier. Nevertheless, the time encoded in an ID is sometimes useful.

The function returns a three-element list. The first two elements encode the time at which the ID was generated, as a (seconds, microseconds) pair giving the time since the epoch. This is the same time format as is returned by gettimeofday. The message ID does not encode the time with a resolution as great as a microsecond; the returned microseconds value is rounded down appropriately. The third item in the result list is the encoded PID.

read_exim_mid(MID, HOST_NUMBER_P)

The optional HOST_NUMBER_P argument is a truth value indicating whether the message ID was encoded using the variant algorithm that includes a host number in the ID. It is essential to decode the ID using the correct algorithm. The host number, if present, is returned as a fourth item in the result list.


This performs base 62 encoding. VALUE and NDIGITS must both be non-negative native integers. VALUE is expressed in base 62, and the least significant NDIGITS digits are returned as a string.


This performs base 62 decoding. DIGITS must be a string of base 62 digits. It is interpreted and the value returned as a native integer.


Can theoretically generate duplicate message IDs during a leap second. Exim suffers the same problem.


Data::ID::Maildir, UUID, Win32::Guidgen,


Andrew Main (Zefram) <>


Copyright (C) 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 Andrew Main (Zefram) <>


This module is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

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