GNU Mailutils Manual (split by node):   Section:   Chapter:FastBack: Programs   Up: mail   FastForward: Libraries   Contents: Table of ContentsIndex: Function Index

3.5.5 Reading Mail

To read messages from a given mailbox, use one of the following ways of invoking mail:

mail

To read messages from your system mailbox.

mail -f
mail --file

To 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

To read messages from the specified mailbox.

mail -u user
mail --user=user

To 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 reads the contents of user configuration file, if any. For detailed description of these files, see Mail Configuration Files. After this initial setup, mail displays the first page of header lines and enters interactive mode. In interactive mode, mail displays its prompt (‘?’, if not set otherwise) and executes the commands the user enters.

GNU Mailutils Manual (split by node):   Section:   Chapter:FastBack: Programs   Up: mail   FastForward: Libraries   Contents: Table of ContentsIndex: Function Index