MAIL(1) General Commands Manual MAIL(1)
mail - send or receive mail among users
mail person ...
mail [ -r ] [ -q ] [ -p ] [ -f file ]
Mail with no argument prints a user's mail, message-by-message, in
last-in, first-out order; the optional argument -r causes first-in,
first-out order. If the -p flag is given, the mail is printed with no
questions asked; otherwise, for each message, mail reads a line from
the standard input to direct disposition of the message.
Go on to next message.
d Delete message and go on to the next.
p Print message again.
- Go back to previous message.
s [ file ] ...
Save the message in the named files (`mbox' default).
w [ file ] ...
Save the message, without a header, in the named files (`mbox'
m [ person ] ...
Mail the message to the named persons (yourself is default).
Put unexamined mail back in the mailbox and stop.
q Same as EOT.
x Exit, without changing the mailbox file.
Escape to the Shell to do command.
? Print a command summary.
An interrupt stops the printing of the current letter. The optional
argument -q causes mail to exit after interrupts without changing the
When persons are named, mail takes the standard input up to an end-of-
file (or a line with just `.') and adds it to each person's `mail'
file. The message is preceded by the sender's name and a postmark.
Lines that look like postmarks are prepended with `>'. A person is
usually a user name recognized by login(1). To denote a recipient on a
remote system, prefix person by the system name and exclamation mark
The -f option causes the named file, e.g. `mbox', to be printed as if
it were the mail file.
Each user owns his own mailbox, which is by default generally readable
but not writable. The command does not delete an empty mailbox nor
change its mode, so a user may make it unreadable if desired.
When a user logs in he is informed of the presence of mail.
/etc/passwd to identify sender and locate persons
mbox saved mail
/tmp/ma* temp file
dead.letter unmailable text
xsend(1), write(1), uucp(1)
There is a locking mechanism intended to prevent two senders from
accessing the same mailbox, but it is not perfect and races are possi-