Electronic mail

Reading mail

When you first log in, your shell tells you if you have mail with a message like You have mail. Depending on how your system is set up, you may also see a message like You have new mail when new mail arrives.

To read your mail, type mail and press <Enter>. If there are no messages in your mailbox, you see a message like:

No mail for yourloginname

(yourloginname is really your login name.)

Otherwise, you are brought into your mailbox.

An electronic mailbox lists all the messages you have waiting, and tells you a bit about each:

   SCO System V Mail (Version 3.2)  Type ? for help.
   3 messages:
     >3 susannah Wed Jun 29 15:23  9/237  "Grocery list"
      2 doug     Wed Jun 29  9:00  28/863 "Promotion"
      1 sylvain  Wed Jun 29  8:59  15/391 "Meet you after work"
In this example, there are three messages waiting, including the practice message from the previous section. Here, the most recent message appears first in the list, but your mailbox may show the oldest message first.

The & is the mail prompt. This is where you type commands while you are in mail.

The > to the left of a message marks the current message. Next comes the message number; this is how you identify a particular message. The sender, the date and time the message arrived, the number of lines and characters in the message, and as much of the ``Subject:'' line as can fit are also shown.

To read a message, type its message number, and press <Enter>. If the message is too long to fit on one screen, you see a ? at the bottom of your screen. Press <Enter> to see the next page of your message. Once you read a message, it is automatically saved to a file called mbox.

You can have another look at the message headers after you have begun to read your mail by pressing h (headers) and <Enter>. (If you want to stop reading a long mail message to look back at the message headers, press <Del>. This interrupts the current message and gives you the main mail prompt _ where you can type h and press <Enter> to display the headers.) If you have more than one screen of headers, you can use the z command to move forward and backward through the header screens. Type z to move to the next screen of headers or z- to go back to the previous screen of headers.

To quit mail, type q and press <Enter> at the main mail prompt.

Try reading the message you sent to yourself:

  1. Type mail and press <Enter> to enter your mailbox.

  2. Type the number to the left of the message you sent yourself and press <Enter>. The message is displayed on your screen.

  3. Type q and press <Enter> at the mail prompt to quit mail.

Next topic: Responding to mail
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© 2003 Caldera International, Inc. All rights reserved.
SCO OpenServer Release 5.0.7 -- 11 February 2003