Can I use Unix for something useful, such as sending email?

Can I use Unix for something useful, such as sending email?

Your Mac's internal mail system is as no-frills as it gets.

 

Sure, but this is the realm of true geeks. How geeky, you ask? Well, when you send email via Unix and your Mac's Terminal, you drop the e and just call it mail. Deep in its Unixy heart, Mac OS X contains a full mail system that operates independently of your standard ISP-account email that you access through a client app such as Eudora, Thunderbird, Entourage, Apple Mail, and so on. You can use the built-in Unix Mail to send and receive messages with users on your local network or out over the Internet.

 

To fire off an email, start with the mail command. Type mail recipient@isp.com (substituting your recipient's real email address) and press Return. When prompted, enter a subject for your message, press Return, and then get on with your message-there's no prompt for you to type the message body. When you're done typing, press Return to enter a line break, then type a single period (.) and press Return to end and send the message. If you try this trick at work or school, note that mailing to people who aren't on your local network might not work, depending on how the recepient's mail host interacts with your company (or school) network's machine-naming protocols.

 

To see mail that you've received, or otherwise tinker with your secret mail system, simply type mail and press Return; then type a question mark (?) and press Return for some quick mail help. Type q and press Return to exit mail. As always, type man mail and press Return to bone up on the official manual pages.

 

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