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UNIX in a Nutshell: System V Edition

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UNIX Commands
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mail [options] [users]

Read mail (if no users listed), or send mail to other users. Type ? for a summary of commands. Esoteric debugging options exist (not listed) for system administrators.

Options for sending mail

-m type

Print a "Message-type:" line at the heading of the letter, followed by type of message.


Print a "To:" line at the heading of the letter, showing the names of the recipients.


Force mail to be sent to remote users without waiting for remote transfer program to be completed.


Store message in a file named after the first recipient.

-h n

Stop trying to send after making n network connections, or "hops" (useful for avoiding infinite loops).


Ignore interrupts (useful on modems).


-r address

Specify a return address for mail you send.

-s subject

Print subject in the subject header field.


Convert uucp-type addresses to Internet format.


Verbose; display status of mail delivery.

Options for reading mail

Options -i, -n, -U, and -v, are also available.


Test for the existence of mail without printing it. Exit status is 0 if mail exists; otherwise 1.

-f file

Read mail from alternate mailbox file.

-F names

Forward all incoming mail to recipient names.


Display a window of messages rather than the latest message.


Print all messages without pausing.


Print messages with all header lines displayed.


Terminate on an interrupt.


Print oldest messages first.

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