MSGS(1) BSD General Commands Manual MSGS(1)
msgs -- system messages and junk mail program
msgs [-fhlpqr] [number] [-number]
msgs [-c [days]]
msgs is used to read system messages. These messages are sent by mailing to the login
`msgs' and should be short pieces of information which are suitable to be read once by most
users of the system.
msgs is normally invoked each time you login, by placing it in the file .login (or .profile
if you use sh(1)). It will then prompt you with the source and subject of each new message.
If there is no subject line, the first few non-blank lines of the message will be displayed.
If there is more to the message, you will be told how long it is and asked whether you wish
to see the rest of the message. The possible responses are:
y Type the rest of the message.
RETURN Synonym for y.
n Skip this message and go on to the next message.
- Redisplay the last message.
q Drop out of msgs; the next time msgs will pick up where it last left off.
s Append the current message to the file ``Messages'' in the current directory;
`s-' will save the previously displayed message. A `s' or `s-' may be followed
by a space and a file name to receive the message replacing the default ``Mes-
m A copy of the specified message is placed in a temporary mailbox and mail(1) is
invoked on that mailbox.
p The specified message is piped through PAGER, or, if PAGER is null or not
defined, more(1). The commands `m', `p', and `s' all accept a numeric argument
in place of the `-'.
msgs keeps track of the next message you will see by a number in the file .msgsrc in your
home directory. In the directory /var/msgs it keeps a set of files whose names are the
(sequential) numbers of the messages they represent. The file /var/msgs/bounds shows the
low and high number of the messages in the directory so that msgs can quickly determine if
there are no messages for you. If the contents of bounds is incorrect it can be fixed by
removing it; msgs will make a new bounds file the next time it is run.
The -s option is used for setting up the posting of messages. The line
msgs: "| /usr/bin/msgs -s"
should be included in /etc/mail/aliases (see newaliases(1)) to enable posting of messages.
The -c option is used for performing cleanup on /var/msgs. An entry with the -c option
should be placed in /etc/crontab to run every night. This will remove all messages over 21
days old. A different expiration may be specified on the command line to override the
Options when reading messages include:
-f Do not print ``No new messages.''. This is useful in a .login file since this
is often the case here.
-q Queries whether there are messages, printing ``There are new messages.'' if
there are. The command ``msgs -q'' is often used in login scripts.
-h Print the first part of messages only.
-r Disables the ability to save messages or enter the mailer. It is assumed that
PAGER is set to something secure.
-l Option causes only locally originated messages to be reported.
number A message number can be given on the command line, causing msgs to start at the
specified message rather than at the next message indicated by your .msgsrc
msgs -h 1
prints the first part of all messages.
-number Start number messages back from the one indicated in the .msgsrc file, useful
for reviews of recent messages.
-p Pipe long messages through PAGER, or, if PAGER is null or not defined, more(1).
Within msgs you can also go to any specific message by typing its number when msgs requests
input as to what to do.
msgs uses the HOME and TERM environment variables for the default home directory and termi-
~/.msgsrc number of next message to be presented
mail(1), more(1), aliases(5)
The msgs command appeared in 3.0BSD.
BSD April 28, 1995 BSD