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pine - a Program for Internet News and Email


pine [ options ] [ address , address ]

pinef [ options ] [ address , address ]


Pine is a screen-oriented message-handling tool. In its default configuration, Pine offers an intentionally limited set of functions geared toward the novice user, but it also has a growing list of optional «power-user» and personal-preference features. pinef is a variant of Pine that uses function keys rather than mnemonic single-letter commands. Pine's basic feature set includes:

View, Save, Export, Delete, Print, Reply and Forward messages.

Compose messages in a simple editor (Pico) with word-wrap and a spelling checker. Messages may be postponed for later completion.

Full-screen selection and management of message folders.

Address book to keep a list of long or frequentlyused addresses. Personal distribution lists may be defined. Addresses may be taken into the address book from incoming mail without retyping them.

New mail checking and notification occurs automatically every 2.5 minutes and after certain commands, e.g. refresh-screen (Ctrl-L).

On-line, context-sensitive help screens.

Pine supports MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions), an Internet Standard for representing multipart and multimedia data in email. Pine allows you to save MIME objects to files, and in some cases, can also initiate the correct program for viewing the object. It uses the system's mailcap configuration file to determine what program can process a particular MIME object type. Pine's message composer does not have integral multimedia capability, but any type of data file --including multimedia-can be attached to a text message and sent using MIME's encoding rules. This allows any group of individuals with MIME-capable mail software (e.g. Pine, PC-Pine, or many other programs) to exchange formatted documents, spreadsheets, image files, etc, via Internet email.

Pine uses the c-client messaging API to access local and remote mail folders. This library provides a variety of low-level message-handling functions, including drivers for a variety of different mail file formats, as well as routines to access remote mail and news servers, using IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) and NNTP (Network News Transport Protocol). Outgoing mail is usually handed-off to the Unix sendmail, program but it can optionally be posted directly via SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol).


The command line options/arguments are:

Send mail to address. This will cause Pine to go directly into the message composer.
Special anonymous mode for UWIN*
-d debug-level
Output diagnostic info at debug-level (0-9) to the current .pine-debug[1-4] file. A value of 0 turns debugging off and suppresses the .pine-debug file.
-f folder
Open folder (in default mail dir) instead of INBOX.
-F file
Open named text file and view with Pine's browser.
Help: list valid command-line options.
Start up in the FOLDER INDEX screen.
-I keystrokes
Initial (comma separated list of) keystrokes which Pine should execute on startup.
Use function keys for commands. This is the same as running the command pinef.
Expand all collections in FOLDER LIST display.
-n number
Start up with current message-number set to number.
Special mode for UWIN*
Open first folder read-only.
-p config-file
Use config-file as the personal

configuration file instead of the default .pinerc.

-P config-file
Use config-file as the configuration file instead of default system-wide configuration file pine.conf.
Use restricted/demo mode. Pine will only send mail to itself and functions like save and export are restricted.
Enable ^Z and SIGTSTP so pine may be suspended.
Produce a sample/fresh copy of the system-wide configuration file, pine.conf, on the standard output. This is distinct from the per-user .pinerc file.
-create_lu addrbook sort-order
Creates auxiliarly index (look-up) file for addrbook and sorts addrbook in sort-order, which may be dont-sort, nickname, fullname, nickname-with_lists-last, or fullname-with-lists_last. Useful when creating global or shared address books.
-pinerc file
Output fresh pinerc configuration to file.
-sort order
Sort the FOLDER INDEX display in one of the following orders: arrival, sub_ject, from, date, size, orderedsubj or reverse. Arrival order is the default. The OrderedSubj choice simulates a threaded sort. Any sort may be reversed by adding /reverse to it. Reverse by itself is the same as arrival/reverse.
Assign value to the config option option e.g. -signature-file=sig1 or -feature-list=signature-at-bottom (Note: feature-list values are additive)

* UWIN = University of Washington Information Navigator


There are several levels of Pine configuration. Configuration values at a given level over-ride corresponding values at lower levels. In order of increasing precedence:

o built-in defaults.
o system-wide pine.conf file.
o personal .pinerc file (may be set via built-in Setup/Config menu.)
o command-line options.
o system-wide pine.conf.fixed file.

There is one exception to the rule that configuration values are replaced by the value of the same option in a higher-precedence file: the feature-list variable has values that are additive, but can be negated by prepending «no-» in front of an individual feature name. Unix Pine also uses the following environment variables:

(determines if Pine can display IMAGE attachments.)
(if not set, default is /bin/sh )
(semicolon delimited list of path names to mailcap files)


Default folder for incoming mail.
Default directory for mail folders.
Default address book file.
Default address book index file.
Diagnostic log for debugging.
Personal pine config file.
News subscription/state file.
Default signature file.
Personal mail capabilities file.
System-wide mail capabilities file.
Local pointer to system administrator. /usr/local/lib/pine.conf System-wide configuration file. /usr/local/lib/pine.conf.fixed Non-overridable configuration file. /tmp/.\usr\spool\mail\xxxx Per-folder mailbox lock files.
Message which was interrupted.
For postponed messages.
Outgoing message archive (FCC).
Default destination for Saving messages.


pico(1), binmail(1), aliases(5), mailaddr(7), sendmail(8), spell(1), imapd(8)

Newsgroup: comp.mail.pine
Source distribution: Pine Technical Notes, included in the source distribution. C-Client messaging API library, included in the source distribution.


The University of Washington Pine development team (part of the UW Office of Computing & Communications) includes:

Project Leader:
Mike Seibel.
Principal authors:
Mike Seibel, Steve Hubert, Laurence Lundblade. C-Client library & IMAPd: Mark Crispin. Pico, the PIne COmposer: Mike Seibel. Bug triage, user support: David Miller.
Port integration:
David Miller.
Sheryl Erez, Kathryn Sharpe.
PC-Pine for DOS:
Mike Seibel.
PC-Pine for Windows:
Tom Unger.
Project oversight:
Terry Gray.
Principal Patrons:
Ron Johnson, Mike Bryant.
Additional support:
Initial Pine code base:
Elm, by Dave Taylor & USENET Community Trust.
Initial Pico code base:
MicroEmacs 3.6, by Dave G. Conroy.
User Interface design:
Inspired by UCLA's «Ben» mailer for MVS. Suggestions/fixes/ports: Folks from all over!

Copyright 1989-1994 by the University of Washington. Pine and Pico are trademarks of the University of Washington.


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