Researching file formats 15: Groupwise MLM Format

This blog post is part of a series on file formats research. See this introduction post for more information.

Update: The official format definition is now online here: GroupWise Email Format. Comments welcome directly to the Library of Congress.

Akin to me consistently messing up the definition of MUA when working with vCard, obviously I’m gonna think this format stands for Multilevel Marketing instead. Oh, I also (re-)learned that MLM may also stand for “men loving men” for people who are looking for a specific genre of romance books. I discovered that when looking for “novell mlm” but getting “mlm novels” instead. It also seems to be sometimes used for “machine learning model.”

Well, what is an MLM file?

“Nobody knows what .mlm file is” – Reddit user makonde

It’s a “simply a WordPerfect 5.1/5.2 file that contains the text of the message as well as information of who the message was from, to, CC:, BC and the date it was sent.” (source).

SIMPLY WordPerfect is back again!!!

It’s good to know that it’s WordPerfect in disguise though because there’s very little info about this format out there on the web. And when I was using Google to try to find more sites about the format, it would automatically map “mlm” to “scam.” (Of which there are plenty of references to scams on the Department of Justice’s website, but they are also a former power-user of the MLM format.)

Also, as a minor annoyance when I am scanning through multiple PDF scans of user guides from the ’90s that include not-great OCR, when Novell bought Groupwise and introduced files that saved as MLM files, around the same time they introduced NLMs – “NetWare Loadable Modules.”

I don’t have much to say about this one, and there will be a lot of “Comments welcome” in the overall format description. But comments are indeed welcome, if you have some special intell on this old format!