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BSD 2.11 - man page for mail (bsd section 1)

MAIL(1) 			     General Commands Manual				  MAIL(1)

       mail - send and receive mail

       mail [ -v ] [ -i ] [ -n ] [ -s subject ] [ user ...  ]
       mail [ -v ] [ -i ] [ -n ] -f [ name ]
       mail [ -v ] [ -i ] [ -n ] -u user

       Mail is a intelligent mail processing system, which has a command syntax reminiscent of ed
       with lines replaced by messages.

       The -v flag puts mail into verbose mode; the details of	delivery  are  displayed  on  the
       users  terminal.  The -i flag causes tty interrupt signals to be ignored. This is particu-
       larly useful when using mail on noisy phone lines.  The -n flag inhibits  the  reading  of

       Sending mail.  To send a message to one or more people, mail can be invoked with arguments
       which are the names of people to whom the mail will be sent.  You  are  then  expected  to
       type  in  your message, followed by an EOT (control-D) at the beginning of a line.  A sub-
       ject may be specified on the command line by using the -s flag. (Only the  first  argument
       after  the  -s flag is used as a subject; be careful to quote subjects containing spaces.)
       The section below, labeled Replying to or originating mail,  describes  some  features  of
       mail available to help you compose your letter.

       Reading	mail.  In normal usage mail is given no arguments and checks your mail out of the
       post office, then prints out a one line header of each message there.  The current message
       is  initially  the  first  message (numbered 1) and can be printed using the print command
       (which can be abbreviated p).  You can move among the messages much as  you  move  between
       lines  in ed, with the commands `+' and `-' moving backwards and forwards, and simple num-

       Disposing of mail.  After examining a message you can delete (d) the message or reply  (r)
       to  it.	 Deletion causes the mail program to forget about the message.	This is not irre-
       versible; the message can be undeleted (u) by giving its number, or the mail  session  can
       be aborted by giving the exit (x) command.  Deleted messages will, however, usually disap-
       pear never to be seen again.

       Specifying messages.  Commands such as print and delete can be given  a	list  of  message
       numbers	as  arguments  to  apply  to  a  number of messages at once.  Thus ``delete 1 2''
       deletes messages 1 and 2, while ``delete 1-5'' deletes messages 1 through 5.  The  special
       name  ``*'' addresses all messages, and ``$'' addresses the last message; thus the command
       top which prints the first few lines of a message could be used in ``top *'' to print  the
       first few lines of all messages.

       Replying  to or originating mail.  You can use the reply command to set up a response to a
       message, sending it back to the person who it was from.	Text you then type in, up  to  an
       end-of-file, defines the contents of the message.  While you are composing a message, mail
       treats lines beginning with the character `~'  specially.   For	instance,  typing  ``~m''
       (alone  on a line) will place a copy of the current message into the response right shift-
       ing it by a tabstop.  Other escapes will set up subject fields, add and delete  recipients
       to the message and allow you to escape to an editor to revise the message or to a shell to
       run some commands.  (These options are given in the summary below.)

       Ending a mail processing session.  You can end a mail session with the quit  (q)  command.
       Messages  which	have  been examined go to your mbox file unless they have been deleted in
       which case they are discarded.  Unexamined messages go back to the post	office.   The  -f
       option  causes  mail to read in the contents of your mbox (or the specified file) for pro-
       cessing; when you quit, mail writes undeleted messages back to this file.  The -u flag  is
       a short way of doing "mail -f /usr/spool/mail/user".

       Personal and systemwide distribution lists.  It is also possible to create a personal dis-
       tribution lists so that, for instance, you can send mail to ``cohorts'' and have it go  to
       a group of people.  Such lists can be defined by placing a line like

	      alias cohorts bill ozalp jkf mark kridle@ucbcory

       in  the file .mailrc in your home directory.  The current list of such aliases can be dis-
       played with the alias (a) command in mail.  System wide distribution lists can be  created
       by  editing  /etc/aliases,  see	aliases(5) and sendmail(8); these are kept in a different
       syntax.	In mail you send, personal aliases will be expanded in mail  sent  to  others  so
       that  they  will be able to reply to the recipients.  System wide aliases are not expanded
       when the mail is sent, but any reply returned to the machine will  have	the  system  wide
       alias expanded as all mail goes through sendmail.

       Network	mail  (ARPA,  UUCP,  Berknet)	See  mailaddr(7)  for  a  description  of network

       Mail has a number of options which can be set in the .mailrc file to alter  its	behavior;
       thus ``set askcc'' enables the ``askcc'' feature.  (These options are summarized below.)

       (Adapted from the `Mail Reference Manual')

       Each  command  is  typed on a line by itself, and may take arguments following the command
       word.  The command need not be typed in its entirety - the first command which matches the
       typed  prefix  is used.	For commands which take message lists as arguments, if no message
       list is given, then the next message forward which satisfies the command's requirements is
       used.   If there are no messages forward of the current message, the search proceeds back-
       wards, and if there are no good messages at all, mail types ``No applicable messages'' and
       aborts the command.

       -	   Goes  to  the previous message and prints it out.  If given a numeric argument
		   n, goes to the n-th previous message and prints it.

       ?	   Prints a brief summary of commands.

       !	   Executes the UNIX shell command which follows.

       Print	   (P) Like print but also prints out ignored header fields.  See  also  print	,
		   ignore and retain.

       Reply	   (R)	Reply  to  originator. Does not reply to other recipients of the original

       Type	   (T) Identical to the Print command.

       alias	   (a) With no arguments, prints out all  currently-defined  aliases.	With  one
		   argument,  prints out that alias.  With more than one argument, creates an new
		   or changes an on old alias.

       alternates  (alt) The alternates command  is  useful  if  you  have  accounts  on  several
		   machines.   It can be used to inform mail that the listed addresses are really
		   you. When you reply to messages, mail will not send a copy of the  message  to
		   any	of the addresses listed on the alternates list. If the alternates command
		   is given with no argument, the current set of alternate names is displayed.

       chdir	   (c) Changes the user's working directory to that specified, if given.   If  no
		   directory is given, then changes to the user's login directory.

       copy	   (co)  The copy command does the same thing that save does, except that it does
		   not mark the messages it is used on for deletion when you quit.

       delete	   (d) Takes a list of messages as  argument  and  marks  them	all  as  deleted.
		   Deleted  messages  will  not  be saved in mbox, nor will they be available for
		   most other commands.

       dp	   (also dt) Deletes the current message and prints the next message.	If  there
		   is no next message, mail says ``at EOF.''

       edit	   (e)	Takes  a list of messages and points the text editor at each one in turn.
		   On return from the editor, the message is read back in.

       exit	   (ex or x) Effects an immediate return  to  the  Shell  without  modifying  the
		   user's system mailbox, his mbox file, or his edit file in -f.

       file	   (fi) The same as folder.

       folders	   List the names of the folders in your folder directory.

       folder	   (fo)  The  folder command switches to a new mail file or folder. With no argu-
		   ments, it tells you which file you are currently reading.  If you give  it  an
		   argument,  it  will write out changes (such as deletions) you have made in the
		   current file and read in the new file. Some special conventions are recognized
		   for	the  name.  # means the previous file, % means your system mailbox, %user
		   means user's system mailbox, & means your  /mbox file,  and	+folder  means	a
		   file in your folder directory.

       from	   (f) Takes a list of messages and prints their message headers.

       headers	   (h)	Lists  the  current range of headers, which is an 18 message group.  If a
		   ``+'' argument is given, then the next 18 message group is printed, and  if	a
		   ``-'' argument is given, the previous 18 message group is printed.

       help	   A synonym for ?

       hold	   (ho,  also preserve) Takes a message list and marks each message therein to be
		   saved in the user's system mailbox instead of in mbox.  Does not override  the
		   delete command.

       ignore	   N.B.: Ignore has been superseded by retain.
		   Add the list of header fields named to the ignored list.  Header fields in the
		   ignore list are not printed on your terminal when you print	a  message.  This
		   command  is	very  handy  for  suppression of certain machine-generated header
		   fields. The Type and Print commands can be used to  print  a  message  in  its
		   entirety,  including  ignored fields. If ignore is executed with no arguments,
		   it lists the current set of ignored fields.

       mail	   (m) Takes as argument login names and distribution group names and sends  mail
		   to those people.

       mbox	   Indicate  that  a list of messages be sent to mbox in your home directory when
		   you quit. This is the default action for messages if you do not have the  hold
		   option set.

       next	   (n  like  + or CR) Goes to the next message in sequence and types it.  With an
		   argument list, types the next matching message.

       preserve    (pre) A synonym for hold.

       print	   (p) Takes a message list and types out each message on the user's terminal.

       quit	   (q) Terminates the session, saving all  undeleted,  unsaved	messages  in  the
		   user's  mbox  file in his login directory, preserving all messages marked with
		   hold or preserve or never referenced in his system mailbox, and  removing  all
		   other  messages  from  his system mailbox.  If new mail has arrived during the
		   session, the message ``You have new mail'' is given.  If given while editing a
		   mailbox  file  with the -f flag, then the edit file is rewritten.  A return to
		   the Shell is effected, unless the rewrite of edit file fails,  in  which  case
		   the user can escape with the exit command.

       reply	   (r)	Takes  a  message list and sends mail to the sender and all recipients of
		   the specified message.  The default message must not be deleted.

       respond	   A synonym for reply.

       retain	   Add the list of header fields named to the retained	list.	Only  the  header
		   fields in the retain list are shown on your terminal when you print a message.
		   All other header fields are suppressed.  The Type and Print	commands  can  be
		   used  to print a message in its entirety.  If retain is executed with no argu-
		   ments, it lists the current set of retained fields.

       save	   (s) Takes a message list and a filename and appends each message  in  turn  to
		   the	end  of the file.  The filename in quotes, followed by the line count and
		   character count is echoed on the user's terminal.

       set	   (se) With no arguments, prints all variable values.	Otherwise,  sets  option.
		   Arguments  are  of  the  form ``option=value'' (no space before or after =) or

       shell	   (sh) Invokes an interactive version of the shell.

       size	   Takes a message list and prints out the size in characters of each message.

       source	   (so) The source command reads mail commands from a file.

       top	   Takes a message list and prints the top few lines  of  each.   The  number  of
		   lines printed is controlled by the variable toplines and defaults to five.

       type	   (t) A synonym for print.

       unalias	   Takes  a  list  of names defined by alias commands and discards the remembered
		   groups of users.  The group names no longer have any significance.

       undelete    (u) Takes a message list and marks each message as not being deleted.

       unread	   (U) Takes a message list and marks each message as not having been read.

       unset	   Takes a list of option names and discards their remembered values; the inverse
		   of set.

       visual	   (v) Takes a message list and invokes the display editor on each message.

       write	   (w) Similar to save, except that only the message body (without the header) is
		   saved.  Extremely useful for such tasks as sending and receiving  source  pro-
		   gram text over the message system.

       xit	   (x) A synonym for exit.

       z	   Mail  presents  message  headers  in windowfuls as described under the headers
		   command. You can move mail's attention forward to the next window with  the	z
		   command. Also, you can move to the previous window by using z-.

       Here  is a summary of the tilde escapes, which are used when composing messages to perform
       special functions.  Tilde escapes are only recognized at the beginning of lines.  The name
       ``tilde escape'' is somewhat of a misnomer since the actual escape character can be set by
       the option escape.

       ~!command   Execute the indicated shell command, then return to the message.

       ~b name ... Add the given names to the list of carbon copy recipients but do not make  the
		   names visible in the Cc: line ("blind" carbon copy).

       ~c name ... Add the given names to the list of carbon copy recipients.

       ~d	   Read the file ``dead.letter'' from your home directory into the message.

       ~e	   Invoke  the	text  editor  on the message collected so far.	After the editing
		   session is finished, you may continue appending text to the message.

       ~f messages Read the named messages into the message being sent.  If no messages are spec-
		   ified, read in the current message.

       ~h	   Edit  the  message  header  fields by typing each one in turn and allowing the
		   user to append text to the end or modify the field by using the current termi-
		   nal erase and kill characters.

       ~m messages Read  the  named  messages into the message being sent, shifted right one tab.
		   If no messages are specified, read the current message.

       ~p	   Print out the message collected so far, prefaced by the message header fields.

       ~q	   Abort the message being sent, copying the message to ``dead.letter''  in  your
		   home directory if save is set.

       ~r filename Read the named file into the message.

       ~s string   Cause the named string to become the current subject field.

       ~t name ... Add the given names to the direct recipient list.

       ~v	   Invoke  an alternate editor (defined by the VISUAL option) on the message col-
		   lected so far.  Usually, the alternate editor will be a screen editor.   After
		   you quit the editor, you may resume appending text to the end of your message.

       ~w filename Write the message onto the named file.

       ~|command   Pipe  the  message  through	the command as a filter.  If the command gives no
		   output or terminates abnormally, retain the original text of the message.  The
		   command fmt(1) is often used as command to rejustify the message.

       ~~string    Insert  the string of text in the message prefaced by a single ~.  If you have
		   changed the escape character, then you should double that character	in  order
		   to send it.

       Options	are  controlled via the set and unset commands.  Options may be either binary, in
       which case it is only significant to see whether they are set or not; or string, in  which
       case the actual value is of interest.  The binary options include the following:

       append	      Causes  messages	saved  in  mbox  to  be  appended  to the end rather than
		      prepended.  (This is set in /etc/Mail.rc on 2.11BSD systems.)

       ask	      Causes mail to prompt you for the subject of each message you send.  If you
		      respond with simply a newline, no subject field will be sent.

       askcc	      Causes  you to be prompted for additional carbon copy recipients at the end
		      of each message.	Responding with a  newline  indicates  your  satisfaction
		      with the current list.

       autoprint      Causes  the  delete command to behave like dp - thus, after deleting a mes-
		      sage, the next one will be typed automatically.

       debug	      Setting the binary option debug is the same as specifying -d on the command
		      line  and  causes mail to output all sorts of information useful for debug-
		      ging mail.

       dot	      The binary option dot causes mail to interpret a period alone on a line  as
		      the terminator of a message you are sending.

       hold	      This option is used to hold messages in the system mailbox by default.

       ignore	      Causes  interrupt  signals  from	your terminal to be ignored and echoed as

       ignoreeof      An option related to dot is ignoreeof which makes mail refuse to	accept	a
		      control-d  as the end of a message.  Ignoreeof also applies to mail command

       metoo	      Usually, when a group is expanded that contains the sender, the  sender  is
		      removed  from  the  expansion.  Setting this option causes the sender to be
		      included in the group.

       nosave	      Normally, when you abort a message with two RUBOUT, mail copies the partial
		      letter  to  the  file  ``dead.letter''  in your home directory. Setting the
		      binary option nosave prevents this.

       Replyall       Reverses the sense of reply and Reply commands.

       quiet	      Suppresses the printing of the version when first invoked.

       verbose	      Setting the option verbose is the same as using the -v flag on the  command
		      line.  When  mail  runs in verbose mode, the actual delivery of messages is
		      displayed on he users terminal.

       The following options have string values:

       EDITOR	      Pathname of the text editor to use in the edit command and ~e  escape.   If
		      not defined, then a default editor is used.

       PAGER	      Pathname	of the program to use in the more command or when crt variable is
		      set.  A default paginator is used if this option is not defined.

       SHELL	      Pathname of the shell to use in the  !   command	and  the  ~!  escape.	A
		      default shell is used if this option is not defined.

       VISUAL	      Pathname of the text editor to use in the visual command and ~v escape.

       crt	      The  valued  option crt is used as a threshold to determine how long a mes-
		      sage must be before PAGER is used to read it.

       escape	      If defined, the first character of this option gives the character  to  use
		      in the place of ~ to denote escapes.

       folder	      The  name  of the directory to use for storing folders of messages. If this
		      name begins with a `/', mail considers it to be an absolute pathname;  oth-
		      erwise, the folder directory is found relative to your home directory.

       record	      If  defined,  gives  the	pathname  of the file used to record all outgoing
		      mail.  If not defined, then outgoing mail is not so saved.

       toplines       If defined, gives the number of lines of a message to be printed	out  with
		      the top command; normally, the first five lines are printed.

       /usr/spool/mail/*	post office
       ~/mbox			your old mail
       ~/.mailrc		file giving initial mail commands
       /tmp/R#			temporary for editor escape
       /usr/share/misc/Mail.help*help files
       /etc/Mail.rc		system initialization file
       Message* 		temporary for editing messages

       binmail(1), fmt(1), newaliases(1), aliases(5),
       mailaddr(7), sendmail(8)
       `The Mail Reference Manual'

       There  are  many  flags	that  are not documented here. Most are not useful to the general
       Usually, mail is just a link to Mail, which can be confusing.

       Kurt Shoens

4th Berkeley Distribution		 October 22, 1996				  MAIL(1)

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