Electronic mail

Sending mail

You can send electronic mail with the mail command to anyone who uses your computer system. If your system has a modem and the UUCP (UNIX-to-UNIX Communications Protocol) program is set up, you can send mail to anyone who is linked to your computer network. To send mail to someone on your system, you type mail and then the receiver's login name. For instance, if you wanted to send mail to Doug, you would type mail doug. Depending on how mail is set up on your system, you may be prompted for a subject; this subject shows up in the list of messages in the receiver's mailbox.

   $ mail doug
   Subject: My promotion
Then, you type your message.

To begin new lines in a logical way, press <Enter> for each new line.

If you make mistakes while you are typing a mail message, you can backspace to correct them. However, you cannot backspace across more than one line. If you want to correct mistakes anywhere in a message, you need to use an editor such as vi (the visual editor) to type your message. See ``Using the vi editor in mail'' for instructions.

When you have finished, go to a new line and press <Ctrl>D. This tells the mail program you are ready to send the message. It may show you a Cc: prompt; this is where you can type the names of people who you want to receive a ``carbon copy'' of the message:

   $ mail doug
   Subject: My promotion
   Thank you for your recent letter of promotion.
   I look forward to the challenge of an executive position,
   despite its long hours and tiring international travel.

<Ctrl>D Cc: susannah

Many people use the Cc: prompt to send a copy of their message back to themselves, in addition to copying others. If you do not want to copy anyone, press <Enter> at the Cc: prompt.

You do not have to conclude a message with your name; your login name is automatically displayed at the beginning of the message and in the recipient's mailbox.

Some people use mail to send reminder messages to themselves.

Try sending a mail message to yourself:

  1. Log in.

  2. Type mail and your login name and press <Enter>.

  3. If you see a Subject: prompt, type Grocery list as the subject, and press <Enter>.

  4. Type in the message, as shown in the following screen display.

  5. When you have typed the message, press <Enter> to go to a new line, then press <Ctrl>D.

  6. If you see a Cc: prompt, press <Enter>. mail sends the message, and returns you to the prompt.
    $ mail susannah
    Subject: Grocery list
    cat food
    dry cat food
    flea spray
    litter tray liners
    Cc: <Enter>
    (end of message)

Q: What if I am in the middle of typing a message and I change my mind about sending it?

A: You can cancel a mail message by pressing <Del> twice. The first time you press <Del>, mail responds with:

(Interrupt -- one more aborts message)

(This interrupt message does not actually appear in your mail message.)

The second time you press <Del>, mail cancels the message and returns you to the prompt.

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SCO OpenServer Release 6.0.0 -- 26 May 2005