Linux mail command

Updated: 05/04/2019 by Computer Hope
mail command

On Unix-like operating systems, the mail command sends and receives e-mail.

This page covers the GNU/Linux version of mail.


mail [OPTION...] [address...]


-a, --append=HEADER: VALUE Append given header to the message being sent.
-e, --exist Return true if mail exists.
-E, --exec=COMMAND Execute COMMAND.
-f, --file[=URL] Operate on given mailbox URL. The default mailbox is ~/mbox.
-F, --byname Save messages according to sender.
-H, --headers Write a header summary and exit.
-i, --ignore Ignore interrupts.
-n, --norc Do not read the system mailrc file.
-N, --nosum Do not display initial header summary.
-p, --print Print all mail to standard output.
-q, --quit Cause interrupts to terminate program.
-r, --read Same as -p
-s, --subject=SUBJ Send a message with a subject of SUBJ.
-t, --to Precede message by a list of addresses.
-u, --user=USER Operate on USER's mailbox.
--license Print license and exit.
--external-locker=PATH Set full path of the external locker program
--lock-expire-timeout=SECONDS Number of seconds after which the lock expires.
--lock-flags=FLAGS Default locker flags (E=external, R=retry, T=time, P=pid)
--lock-retry-count=NUMBER Set the maximum number of times to retry acquiring the lockfile.
--lock-retry-timeout=SECONDS Set timeout for acquiring the lockfile.
-m, --mail-spool=URL Use specified URL as a mailspool directory.
--mailbox-type=PROTO Default mailbox type to use.
--tls[=BOOL] Enable TLS support.
-?, --help Display a help message and exit.
--usage Display a short usage message and exit.
-V, --version Display program version and exit.



Opens the mail program and displays the first message in the mailbox, if any. If mail is found, the user is placed at a mail command prompt; type ? for a list of commands.

mail [email protected]

Starts a new e-mail addressed to [email protected]. When finished composing the message, type Ctrl-D on a new line.

How to read and send e-mail in a telnet or SSH session.

chmod — Change the permissions of files or directories.
csh — The C shell command interpreter.
elm — A mail client.
login — Begin a session on a system.
mailx — Process mail messages.
pine — A client for using mail and newsgroups.