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E-mail for Beginners at a UNIX prompt

If you are new to UNIX you might like this tutorial to help you start sending and receiving E-mail at SDF. You should be a verified member before you can start using E-mail at SDF.

Assuming you have already logged into and started using SDF a little, you should be comfortable with the command line by now. All you need to start sending and receiving E-mail is your E-mail Address and an E-mail Client.

By default your E-mail Address is your SDF username, and you can choose the domain you would like to use from the list of SDF domain names.

So if your username is "coffee" you can try sending yourself a mail with your existing E-mail account to:

If you do not have an existing E-mail account you may wish to have another SDF member send you a test mail, sometimes E-mail boxes do not work properly until a test mail has been sent.

Now log into SDF and type the command "alpine". This will open up a terminal based E-mail client where you can send and receive mail. All of the commands to operate alpine are listed on the bottom of the terminal, and generally speaking you just have to tap a key to operate.

It is pretty self explanatory.

The first time you open alpine you might have to answer a few questions, but generally if you just tap enter a couple times after opening alpine you will be in your E-mail inbox. At that point you can use the up and down arrow keys to navigate through emails and press enter on the one you would like to read. After reading the mail you can reply by tapping 'r'. To send the mail you will have to hold down the Ctrl key and tap 'x'.

All controls which require holding down the Ctrl key and tapping another key will be signified with the '^' symbol in the command list. So if you see ^R that means you should hold down Ctrl and tap 'r' to do that command.

To return to the message index (your inbox) you will see the command list states '<'. Thus you simply type a '<' by holding down the shift key and tapping the '<' key.

There are many other methods of sending and receiving mail at SDF, and they are all quite easy to learn and self explanatory. You can experiment with 'mutt' (another terminal based mail client) by typing the command 'mutt' at the terminal, and you can read further E-mail tutorials for setting up visual mail clients on your local computer.

Continue to E-Mail Basics

You can also view the E-mail FAQ.

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