alpine(1) General Commands Manual alpine(1)
alpine - an Alternatively Licensed Program for Internet News and Email
alpine [ options ] [ address , address ]
alpinef [ options ] [ address , address ]
Alpine is a screen-oriented message-handling tool. In its default con-
figuration, Alpine offers an intentionally limited set of functions
geared toward the novice user, but it also has a large list of optional
"power-user" and personal-preference features. alpinef is a variant of
Alpine that uses function keys rather than mnemonic single-letter com-
mands. Alpine'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 comple-
Full-screen selection and management of message folders.
Address book to keep a list of long or frequently-used
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
On-line, context-sensitive help screens.
Alpine supports MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions), an Inter-
net Standard for representing multipart and multimedia data in email.
Alpine 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. Alpine'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. Alpine, PC-Alpine, or many other pro-
grams) to exchange formatted documents, spread-sheets, image files,
etc, via Internet email.
Alpine 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 for-
mats, as well as routines to access remote mail and news servers, using
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) and NNTP (Network News Trans-
port Protocol). Outgoing mail is usually posted directly via SMTP
(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol).
The command line options/arguments are:
address Send mail to address. This will cause Alpine to go
directly into the message composer.
-attach file Send mail with the listed file as an attachment.
Send mail with the listed file-list as an attach-
Send mail with the listed file as an attachment,
and remove the file after the message is sent.
PC-Alpine only. When using a remote configuration
(-p <remote_config>) this tells PC-Alpine the local
directory to use for storing auxiliary files, like
debug files, address books, and signature files.
-bail Exit if the pinerc file does not exist. This might
be useful if the config file is accessed using some
remote filesystem protocol. If the remote mount is
missing this will cause Alpine to quit instead of
creating a new pinerc.
-c context-number context-number is the number corresponding to the
folder-collection to which the -f command line
argument should be applied. By default the -f
argument is applied to the first defined folder-
-conf Produce a sample/fresh copy of the system-wide con-
figuration file, pine.conf, on the standard output.
This is distinct from the per-user .pinerc file.
-convert_sigs -p pinerc
Convert signature files into literal signatures.
-copy_abook <local_abook> <remote_abook>
Copy the local address book file to a remote
address book folder.
-copy_pinerc <local_pinerc> <remote_pinerc>
Copy the local pinerc file to a remote pinerc
-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.
-d key[=val] Fine tuned output of diagnostic messages where
"flush" causes debug file writing without buffer-
ing, "timestamp" appends each message with a time-
stamp, "imap=n" where n is between 0 and 4 repre-
senting none to verbose IMAP telemetry reporting,
"numfiles=n" where n is between 0 and 31 corre-
sponding to the number of debug files to maintain,
and "verbose=n" where n is between 0 and 9 indicat-
ing an inverse threshold for message output.
-f folder Open folder (in first defined folder collection,
use -c n to specify another collection) instead of
-F file Open named text file and view with Alpine's
-h Help: list valid command-line options.
-i Start up in the FOLDER INDEX screen.
-I keystrokes Initial (comma separated list of) keystrokes which
Alpine should execute on startup.
-install For PC-Alpine only, this option causes PC-Alpine to
prompt for some basic setup information, then
-k Use function keys for commands. This is the same as
running the command alpinef.
-n number Start up with current message-number set to number.
Read from a password cache if there is one, but
never offer to write a password to the cache
-o 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
When password file support is compiled in, use the
file specified in <fully-qualified-path> instead of
-pinerc file Output fresh pinerc configuration to file, preserv-
ing the settings of variables that the user has
made. Use file set to ``-'' to make output go to
When SMIME and password file support are compiled
in, this variable sets the directory to store your
personal key and certificate to encrypt and decrypt
your password file.
-r Use restricted/demo mode. Alpine will only send
mail to itself and functions like save and export
-registry cmd For PC-Alpine only, this option affects the values
of Alpine's registry entries. Possible values for
cmd are set, clear, and dump. Set will always
reset Alpine's registry entries according to its
current settings. Clear will clear the registry
values. Clearsilent will silently clear the reg-
istry values. Dump will display the values of cur-
rent registry settings. Note that the dump command
is currently disabled. Without the -registry
option, PC-Alpine will write values into the reg-
istry only if there currently aren't any values
If SMIME is compiled in, this argument sets the
directory where the public, private, and certifi-
cate authorities certificates and keys are stored.
If not set by the command line the default is
-sort order Sort the FOLDER INDEX display in one of the follow-
ing orders: arrival, date, subject, orderedsubj,
thread, from, size, score, to, cc, 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.
-supported Some options may or may not be supported depending
on how Alpine was compiled. This is a way to
determine which options are supported in the par-
ticular copy of Alpine you are using.
-uninstall For PC-Alpine only, this option causes PC-Alpine to
remove references to Alpine in Windows settings.
-url url Open the given url. Cannot be used with -f or -F
-v Version: Print version information.
-version Version: Print version information.
-x config Use configuration exceptions in config. Exceptions
are used to override your default pinerc settings
for a particular platform, can be a local file or a
-z Enable ^Z and SIGTSTP so alpine may be suspended.
-option=value Assign value to the config option option e.g. -sig-
nature-file=sig1 or -feature-list=signature-at-bot-
tom (Note: feature-list values are additive)
There are several levels of Alpine 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 Alpine also uses the following environment variables:
DISPLAY (determines if Alpine can display IMAGE attachments.)
SHELL (if not set, default is /bin/sh )
MAILCAPS (semicolon delimited list of path names to mailcap files)
/var/spool/mail/xxxx Default folder for incoming mail.
~/mail Default directory for mail folders.
~/.addressbook Default address book file.
~/.signature File used for signature, appended to every
~/.pine-debug[1-4] Diagnostic log for debugging.
~/.pinerc Personal alpine config file.
~/.pine-crash Debug information useful to debug a crash.
~/.newsrc News subscription/state file.
~/.mailcap Personal mail capabilities file.
~/.mime.types Personal file extension to MIME type map-
/etc/mailcap System-wide mail capabilities file.
/etc/mime.types System-wide file ext. to MIME type mapping
/etc/pine.info Local pointer to system administrator.
/etc/pine.conf System-wide configuration file.
/etc/pine.conf.fixed Non-overridable configuration file.
~/.alpine-smime/ca Directory that contains Certificate Author-
~/.alpine-smime/private Directory that contains private key(s).
~/.alpine-smime/public Directory that contains public key(s).
/tmp/.\usr\spool\mail\xxxx Per-folder mailbox lock files.
~/.pine-interrupted-mail Message which was interrupted.
~/mail/postponed-msgs For postponed messages (drafts)
~/mail/sent-mail Outgoing message archive (FCC).
~/mail/saved-messages Default destination for Saving messages.
pico(1), binmail(1), aliases(5), mailaddr(7), sendmail(8), spell(1),
Alpine-info, at https://www.washington.edu/alpine/alpine-info/
Main Alpine distribution site:
Alpine Technical Notes, included in the source distribution.
C-Client messaging API library, included in the source distribution.
This software is the result of the contribution of many individuals
who have dedicated their time to support, improve and suggest ways
to improve Alpine through the years. This software would not be
possible without the support of the University of Washington in
Seattle, Washington. The Alpine community extends its most sincere
thanks to all contributors and invites everyone to join in and
contribute to this project.
Version 2.21 alpine(1)
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