Pine Mail Client

When you obtain you email account, you will be given an account name and a password.  You will need these bits of information when accessing your email account on the mail server.  If you've never run Pine before, you will be presented with a greeting screen similar to the one shown below.


Each Pine screen presents you with a set of possible commands listed at the bottom of the screen.  In addition, there is a default command for each screen.  The default command is enclosed in square brackets and is executed by hitting Enter.  In the screen shown above, the default command is Be Counted!  Type `E' to exit the greeting screen and enter the main menu screen shown below.

Pine is a very simple program to use.  There is no need to memorize any commands as the possible commands at each screen are always listed at the bottom of the screen.  With a little exploration, you will quickly master the program.  If you are interested in learning more about Pine, the following  tutorial  will provide most of what you need to know.

The rest of this writeup will instead focus on using Pine on the maria cluster with your  email account on the division mail server.  At present, the maria cluster runs its own mail system that is common across the cluster.  This will be discontinued on February 3, 2001.  Thereafter, mail destined for the maria cluster will be routed to the division mail server.  What does this mean?  If you are familiar with Pine, you know that your new mail arrives in the INBOX.  When you obtain your email account on the mail server, you will have 2 inboxes; the local INBOX on the maria cluster, and the REMOTE inbox on the mail server.  In other words, before February 3, 2001, you will receive new mail in both inboxes.  After February 3, new mail will arrive only in your REMOTE inbox.  Both inboxes will continue to exist until your local INBOX is emptied out.  It will then be removed at a later date and you will be left with only 1 inbox - the REMOTE inbox that resides on the mail server.

Why are we doing this?

Why discontinue mail services on the maria cluster?  Why migrate to the new mail server?  There are several reasons.  Believe it or not, the mail server actually offers a better and more flexible way of handling mail.  Once you are moved entirely over to the mail server, you will also be able to access your mail account using popular mail programs such as Microsoft Outlook or Netscape Messenger from any computer on the Internet.  You will no longer need to log into your account on the maria cluster in order to read your mail.  A later section will explain a recommended approach to consider.

Using Pine with your email account on the mail server

At the main menu screen, type `L' to list your folders.  You will be presented with the following screen.

The screen shows your collection list.  A collection is simply a group of folders.  Some definitions are in order:  A mail folder is simply a file that contains one or more mail messages.  A collection is simply a directory containing one or more folders.  The directory may be local or remote.  In the screen shown above, there are 3 collections:  Incoming-Folders, Mail, and Remote.  You select the collection with the 'P' and 'N' keys.  In this example, the Incoming-Folders collection has been selected.  Hitting Enter (the default command) brings up the following screen

which lists your local INBOX and the REMOTE inbox.  The local INBOX is the inbox on the maria cluster.  The REMOTE inbox is the inbox of your email account on the mail server.  To select which inbox, use the 'P' and 'N' keys.   In this screen, the REMOTE inbox has been selected.  You will be prompted for your account name and password of the email account when you first open your REMOTE inbox.  Type them in as shown in the following 2 screens.

After you have authenticated yourself, you will be presented with a list of new messages in your REMOTE inbox.  An example is shown below.


Local and Remote Folders

Pine allows you to archive your mail messages in local and remote folders.  Up till now, you have saved your mail into local folders within the mail subdirectory in your HOME directory on the maria cluster. You now have the option of saving your mail on the mail server.  There are advantages to saving your mail in remote folders;  the most significant one is that you will be able to access your archived mail with standard mail clients like Microsoft Outlook or Netscape Messenger running on a computer anywhere on the Internet.  Obviously, such clients will not be able to access your local mail folders.  There is one disadvantage to keeping  your folders on the mail server:  You will not be able to use standard Unix text utilities such as grep to manipulate your mail folders.

Saving your mail in remote folders

First, you need to create a remote folder.   Select the Remote collection as shown below

and hit Enter to view the collection.  The following screen shows the Remote collection with no folders.  Next, type `A' to add a new folder.

You will be prompted for the name of the folder as shown below.  In this example, the new folder is called `saved-messages'.

Hit Return to accept.  The Remote collection screen should now list the saved-messages folder as shown below.

To save a message,  select your message and type `S' to save it.  Pine will prompt you for the folder in which to save the message.  In the following screen, the default folder is `<Mail> [saved-messages]'.  This is the saved-messages folder in the local Mail collection.

You can scroll through your list of collections and folders with Ctrl-P, Ctrl-N, and the Ctrl-T keys.   In this example, hitting Ctrl-N `scrolls' to the next collection which is the Remote collection as shown below.

Hit Return to save your message.


Pine will announce that the message has been saved and deleted.  Saving a message will automatically delete it from your inbox.  A deleted message is not physically deleted, only marked as deleted.  You can choose to undelete the message or physically delete it by expunging the inbox.  By default, Pine will ask you if you wish to expunge your deleted messages when you exit the program.

Pine and Netscape

On the maria cluster, you have the option of using both Pine and Netscape Messenger to access your mail account on the server.  Look  here  for instructions on configuring Netscape to access your mail account.  The nice part about using Netscape Messenger is that in addition to being able to access your remote folders on the mail server, it is capable of accessing your local folders in your maria account.  By default, Netscape Messenger looks in the $HOME/nsmail subdirectory for local folders.  But, this can be changed under the `Edit Preferences' menu to $HOME/mail which is where Pine stores its local folders.  Using Netscape Messenger as your default mail client on the maria cluster has one advantage.  If you are on travel, you may not always be able to ssh to your maria account to start Pine to read your mail.  However, it is quite likely you will have access to Netscape with which you can reach your mail account.  This way you will have one standard mail interface whether you are logged into your maria account or are using a colleague's machine at a remote site.