General-Purpose Mail Package
|Official GNU Software|
To read messages from a given mailbox, use one of the following ways of
Read messages from your system mailbox.
Read messages from your mailbox ($HOME/mbox). If the --user option (see below) is also given, read messages from that user’s mbox.
mail -f path_to_mailbox
mail --file path_to_mailbox
Read messages from the specified mailbox.
mail -u user
Read messages from the system mailbox belonging to user.
Please note, that usual mailbox permissions won’t allow you to use the last variant of invocation, unless you are a super-user. Similarly, the last but one variant is also greatly affected by the permissions the target mailbox has.
Notice that path_to_mailbox is not an argument to --file (-f) option, but rather the first non-optional argument on the command line. Therefore, the following three invocations are equivalent:
$ mail -fin mymbox $ mail -f mymbox -in $ mail --file -in mymbox $ mail --file -i mymbox -n
Additionally, for conformance to the GNU standards, the following form is also accepted:
$ mail --file=mymbox -i -n
Unless you have started mail with --norc command line option,
it will read the contents of the system-wide configuration file.
Then it will read the contents of user configuration file, if it exists.
For detailed description of these files, see Mail Configuration Files.
After this initial setup,
Each message in the mailbox has a state that affects how it is retained or deleted upon termination of the program. The state is reflected in the header listing and can be changed during the session. The states are:
The message is present in the system mailbox and has not been read
by the user or moved to any other state. When
such messages are moved to the ‘unread’ state. If
command was used, their state is not changed.
The message has been present in the system mailbox for more than one
The message has been read by the user, i.e. processed by one of the
undelete, or any of the
following escapes (in message compose mode):
The message has been processed by one of the following commands: ‘delete’, ‘dp’, ‘dt’. Messages in this state are ignored by any command, excepting ‘undelete’, which changes their state back to ‘read’. Upon quitting the program, deleted messages are permanently removed from the mailbox.
The message has been processed by the
The message has been processed by one of the following commands:
file command is used
to exit the current mailbox.
Unless the mailbox is empty, exactly one of its messages will be marked as current message. Upon startup, current message is set to the first new message, if there is any, or the first unread message if there is any, or to the first message in the mailbox. In the header listing, current message is marked with the ‘>’ sign at the beginning of the line. Current message is changed by any of the following commands: ‘dp’, ‘prev’, ‘next’.
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