mail, rmail - read mail or send mail to users


  Sending mail
     mail [-tw] [-m message_type] recipient...

     rmail [-tw] [-m message_type] recipient...

  Reading mail
     mail [-ehpPqr] [-f file]

     mail [-x debug_level] [other_mail_options] recipient...


     A   recipient   is   usually   a   domain   style    address
     ("user@machine") or a user name recognized by login(1). When
     recipients are named, mail assumes a message is being  sent.
     It  reads  from  the  standard  input  up  to an end-of-file
     (Control-d) or, if reading from a terminal device, until  it
     reads  a  line  consisting  of just a period. When either of
     those indicators is received, mail adds the  letter  to  the
     mailfile for each recipient.

     A letter is composed of some  header  lines  followed  by  a
     blank line followed by the message content. The header lines
     section of the letter consists of one  or  more  UNIX  post-

          From     sender     date_and_time     [remote      from

     followed by one or more standardized message header lines of
     the form:

           keyword-name: [printable text]

     where keyword-name  is  comprised  of  any  printable,  non-
     whitespace  characters  other  than  colon (`:'). A Content-
     Length: header line, indicating the number of bytes  in  the
     message  content  will  always  be present unless the letter
     consists of only header lines with  no  message  content.  A
     Content-Type:  header  line  that  describes the type of the
     message content (such as text, binary, multipart, and so on)
     will  also  be  present  unless  the letter consists of only
     header lines with no message content. Header  lines  may  be
     continued  on  the  following  line if that line starts with
     white space.


  Sending mail
     The following command-line arguments affect sending mail:

     -m message_type
           A Message-Type: line is added to  the  message  header
           with the value of message_type.

     -t    A To: line is added to the message header for each  of
           the intended recipients.

     -w    A letter is sent to a remote recipient without waiting
           for the completion of the remote transfer program.

     If a letter is found to be undeliverable, it is returned  to
     the  sender  with diagnostics that indicate the location and
     nature of the failure. If mail is interrupted during  input,
     the  message is saved in the file dead.letter to allow edit-
     ing and resending. dead.letter is always appended  to,  thus
     preserving  any  previous  contents.  The initial attempt to
     append to (or create) dead.letter will  be  in  the  current
     directory.  If  this  fails, dead.letter will be appended to
     (or created in) the user's login directory.  If  the  second
     attempt also fails, no dead.letter processing will be done.

     rmail only permits the sending of mail; uucp(1C) uses  rmail
     as a security precaution. Any application programs that gen-
     erate mail messages should be sure to  invoke  rmail  rather
     than mail for message transport and/or delivery.

     If the local  system  has  the  Basic  Networking  Utilities
     installed,  mail may be sent to a recipient on a remote sys-
     tem. There are numerous ways to address mail  to  recipients
     on  remote  systems  depending  on  the transport mechanisms
     available to  the  local  system.  The  two  most  prevalent
     addressing schemes are Domain-style and UUCP-style.

     Domain-style addressing
           Remote recipients are specified by  appending  an  `@'
           and  domain  (and  possibly sub-domain) information to
           the recipient name  (such  as  user@sf.att.com).  (The
           local  system  administrator  should  be consulted for
           details on which addressing conventions are  available
           on the local system.)

     UUCP-style addressing
           Remote recipients are specified by prefixing the reci-
           pient name with the remote system name and an exclama-
           tion point,  such  as  sysa!user.  If  csh(1)  is  the
           default  shell, sysa\!user should be used. A series of
           system names separated by exclamation  points  can  be
           used  to  direct  a letter through an extended network
           (such        as         sysa!sysb!sysc!user         or

  Reading Mail
     The following command-line arguments affect reading mail:

     -e    Mail is not printed. An exit status of 0  is  returned
           if  the  user has mail; otherwise, an exit status of 1
           is returned.

     -h    A window of headers  are  initially  displayed  rather
           than  the  latest  message. The display is followed by
           the ? prompt.

     -p    All messages are printed without prompting for  dispo-

     -P    All  messages  are  printed  with  all  header   lines
           displayed,  rather  than  the default selective header
           line display.

     -q    mail terminates after interrupts. Normally  an  inter-
           rupt  causes only the termination of the message being

     -r    Messages are printed in first-in, first-out order.

     -f file
           mail uses file (such as mbox) instead of  the  default

     mail, unless otherwise influenced by command-line arguments,
     prints  a  user's mail messages in last-in, first-out order.
     The default mode for printing messages is  to  display  only
     those header lines of immediate interest. These include, but
     are not limited to,  the  UNIX  From  and  >From  postmarks,
     From:,  Date:,  Subject:,  and Content-Length: header lines,
     and any recipient header lines such as To:, Cc:,  Bcc:,  and
     so  forth.  After the header lines have been displayed, mail
     will display the contents (body) of the message only  if  it
     contains  no  unprintable  characters.  Otherwise, mail will
     issue a warning statement about the  message  having  binary
     content and not display the content. (This may be overridden
     via the p command. See below.)

     For each message, the user is prompted with a ? and  a  line
     is  read from the standard input. The following commands are
     available to determine the disposition of the message:

     #     Print the number of the current message.

     -     Print previous message.
     <new-line>,+, or n
           Print the next message.

           Escape to the shell to do command.

     a     Print message that arrived during the mail session.

     d, or dp
           Delete the current message and print the next message.

     d n   Delete message number n. Do not go on to next message.

     dq    Delete message and quit mail.

     h     Display a window of headers around current message.

     h n   Display a window of headers around message number n.

     h a   Display headers of all messages in  the  user's  mail-

     h d   Display headers of messages scheduled for deletion.

     m [ persons ]
           Mail (and delete) the current  message  to  the  named

     n     Print message number n.

     p     Print current message again,  overriding  any  indica-
           tions of binary (that is, unprintable) content.

     P     Override default brief mode and print current  message
           again, displaying all header lines.

     q, or CTRL-D
           Put undeleted mail back in the mailfile and quit mail.

     r [ users ]
           Reply to the sender, and other users, then delete  the

     s [ files ]
           Save message in the named files (mbox is default)  and
           delete the message.

     u [ n ]
           Undelete message number n (default is last read).

     w [ files ]
           Save message contents, without any  header  lines,  in
           the  named files (mbox is default) and delete the mes-

     x     Put all mail back in the mailfile unchanged  and  exit

     y [ files ]
           Same as -w option.

     ?     Print a command summary.

     When a user logs in, the presence of mail, if any,  is  usu-
     ally  indicated.  Also,  notification  is  made  if new mail
     arrives while using mail.

     The  permissions  of  mailfile  may  be  manipulated   using
     chmod(1)  in  two  ways  to  alter the function of mail. The
     other permissions of the  file  may  be  read-write  (0666),
     read-only  (0664), or neither read nor write (0660) to allow
     different levels of privacy. If changed to  other  than  the
     default  (mode  0660),  the file will be preserved even when
     empty to perpetuate the desired permissions.  (The  adminis-
     trator   may  override  this  file  preservation  using  the
     DEL_EMPTY_MAILFILE option of mailcnfg.)

     The group ID of the mailfile must be mail to allow new  mes-
     sages  to be delivered, and the mailfile must be writable by
     group mail.

     The following command-line arguments cause mail  to  provide
     debugging information:

     -x debug_level
           mail creates a trace file containing debugging  infor-

     The  -x  option  causes  mail  to  create   a   file   named
     /tmp/MLDBGprocess_id  that  contains  debugging  information
     relating to how mail  processed  the  current  message.  The
     absolute  value  of  debug_level controls the verboseness of
     the  debug  information.  0   implies   no   debugging.   If
     debug_level  is  greater  than  0,  the  debug  file will be
     retained only if mail encountered some  problem  while  pro-
     cessing  the  message.  If  debug_level  is less than 0, the
     debug file will always be retained. The  debug_level  speci-
     fied   via  -x  overrides  any  specification  of  DEBUG  in
     /etc/mail/mailcnfg.  The  information  provided  by  the  -x
     option  is  esoteric  and  is probably only useful to system

  Delivery Notification
     Several forms of notification  are  available  for  mail  by
     including one of the following lines in the message header.

     Transport-Options: [ /options ]

     Default-Options: [ /options ]

     >To: recipient [ /options ]

     Where the "/options" may be one or more of the following:

           Inform the sender that the  message  was  successfully
           delivered to the recipient's mailbox.

           Do not inform the sender of successful deliveries.

           Do not inform the sender of failed deliveries.

           Inform the sender if mail delivery fails.  Return  the
           failed message to the sender.

           Same as /return except that the  original  message  is
           not returned.

     The default is /nodelivery/return. If contradictory  options
     are  used, the first will be recognized and later, conflict-
     ing, terms will be ignored.


     The following operand is supported for sending mail:

           A domain style address ("user@machine") or user  login
           name recognized by login(1).


     See largefile(5) for the description of the behavior of mail
     and rmail when encountering files greater than or equal to 2
     Gbyte ( 2**31 bytes).


     See environ(5) for descriptions of the following environment
     variables  that  affect  the  execution  of  mail: LC_CTYPE,

     TZ    Determine  the  timezone  used  with  date  and   time


     The following exit values are returned:

     0     Successful completion when the user had mail.

     1     The user  had  no  mail  or  an  initialization  error

     >1    An error occurred after initialization.


           unmailable text

           to identify sender and locate recipients

           saved mail

     $MAIL variable containing path name of mailfile

           temporary file

           debug trace file

           lock for mail directory

           directory for holding temp files to  prevent  loss  of
           data in the event of a system crash

           incoming mail for user; that is, the mailfile


     See attributes(5) for descriptions of the  following  attri-

    |       ATTRIBUTE TYPE        |       ATTRIBUTE VALUE       |
    | Availability                | SUNWcsu                     |


     chmod(1),    csh(1),    login(1),    mailx(1),     uucp(1C),
     uuencode(1C),    vacation(1),    write(1),    attributes(5),
     environ(5), largefile(5)

     Solaris Advanced User's Guide


     The interpretation and resulting action taken because of the
     header lines described in the Delivery Notifications section
     above will only occur if this version of mail  is  installed
     on  the system where the delivery (or failure) happens. Ear-
     lier versions of mail may not support any types of  delivery

     Conditions sometimes result in a failure to  remove  a  lock

     After an interrupt, the next message  may  not  be  printed;
     printing may be forced by typing a p.

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