Utilities: Mail


The general syntax for command-line mail is:

mail [-s subject] [-c CC to] [-b BCC to] [email protected]

The command mail issued by itself opens a mail session, prints out message headers and lets you read, page through messages and delete them.


Start reading your messages by issuing the command:

or just:

Go to the next message with a +, or move backward with . You can also use numbers, though this can get tricky.

Once you have read a message, it will leave your email queue (the file /var/spool/mail/<username>) and move to your /home/<username>/mbox file.

You can choose to delete a message (while you’re looking at it) with the command d or reply with the command r.


Start a mail session:

mail -s “Hi Bill” [email protected]

Now you can start typing your message.

Signal the end of the message with a CTL-D at the beginning of a line.


End your session with the command quit or q.


Other mail utilities

Other mail utilities you’re likely to find on many Linux distros include mutt and pine. See if they’re installed, and open them if they are.