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Sending and receiving e-mail


Sending e-mail to another user on floppix:

  1. Type: mail <username>
  2. At the "Subject:" prompt, type in a subject and press [Enter]
  3. Type in the message line by line
  4. To send the message, press [Ctrl-d] at the beginning of a new line
  5. A sample session sending mail could look like:
    $ mail alterego
    Subject: studying
    Linux is fun
    Remember our 2:00 meeting to do the mail lab

Reading email

  1. To read the email, login as alterego and type: mail
  2. The mail program will show a list of messages:
    Mail version 8.1 6/6/93. Type ? for help.
    "/var/spool/mail/alterego": 2 messages 2 new
    >N 1 student Sun Sep 20 13:00 14/395 "lab1"
     N 2 student Sun Sep 20 13:01 14/409 "lab1 answers"
  3. Some mail commands:
  4. When you exit from mail with the q command, the messages that you have read (and not deleted) will be saved in a file called mbox. Unread messages will go back to the mail spool file.
  5. To view the mbox file from the mail utility, open mail with the command: mail -f
  6. Mail messages that you have not picked up yet are saved in a spool file. On floppix, the mail spool file is called /var/spool/mail/username .

Sending/receiving e-mail - real mode

  1. If you are connected to the Internet and you configured e-mail during the startup, you can send and receive real e-mail.
  2. Use mail to compose messages. If the message is addressed to a user on another system it will be forwarded to your SMTP server.
  3. Run fetchmail to download your mail from your POP3 server.
    The mail will be downloaded to your local spool file; use mail to read it. A copy of your mail will be left on the server so that you can also download the messages with your normal email package.
  4. The configuration file for fetchmail is .fetchmailrc which is stored in your own home directory.


  1. Send an email message to alterego.
  2. Switch to another virtual console, login as alterego and read the mail messages. Send a response.
  3. Switch to the first virtual console (where you are logged in as yourself) and read the response from alterego. Quit the mail program.
  4. Check that you have now have a file called mbox in your home directory.
  5. What command to you use to re-read the message from alterego?

Copyright © L.M.MacEwan
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