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Usage Questions

3.1 Pine Bugs

"Can you fix a bug in an older version of Pine, please?"
When a bug is identified in an old release of Pine, there is a very strong possibility that the associated code has been re-written to the point that a fix will not apply to the current release. Hence, if we can't reproduce the problem in the current version, our standard response will be to ask you to upgrade.

3.2 Can I get a "return-receipt" when sending a message with Pine?

Many Pine users, who may have seen this feature in other email systems (such as those on a Local Area Network, where it is common), have askedif there is a way to confirm whether or not a message they send over the Internet has been received, or even whether it has been read, by the recipient. The answer is "perhaps" ... reasons against generation of return receipts include: However: If a message cannot be delivered due a technical problem -- such as connectivity interrupted, or mailhost down or misconfigured -- the sender will almost always receive a diagnostic message to that effect, which they can forward to their computing support staff for interpretation and troubleshooting. The best solution to the "lack of return-receipt" problem is therefore to include a line requesting confirmation from the recipient that a message was received in that message itself.

3.3 How do I transfer messages from Pine on a Unix host to my PC?

Applies to Pine for Unix only

Users of Pine on a remote host may sometimes wish to transfer messages to their desktop computer. The process for this depends on the version of Pine you are using and on how you connect from your PC to the host running Pine.

* Multiple messages can be exported to a single file by selecting them (if enable-aggregate-command-set is checked in Pine's SETUP CONFIGURATION) and applying the Export command to them. The sequence of the messages in the exported file can be changed by sorting (press $ in the FOLDER INDEX view) the messages first.

3.4 How can I have all future messages sent to me automatically forwarded to another account?

This is actually not a function of Pine itself, but is often asked by Pine users, thus we cover this question here.

Many users migrate from one Internet account to another as they graduate from college, switch Internet Service Providers, and so on. Others maintain multiple Internet accounts, receive email messages in all or several of them, but want to manage and respond to all their email from one of them. In those situations, you may want to have your email automatically forwarded from one account to another.

Let's says you currently have this email address at your university:

but you are graduating and will lose that account in another few weeks. Thus, you sign up with an Internet Service Provider for a personal account, where your email address is:
You decide that, rather than logging into both accounts during the time period you have both to check your email, you want to receive all your messages in your new elsewhere.net account, and respond to them from there, especially to inform those who still send email to your here.edu account that they should start sending email only to your new address.

If your here.edu account is on a Unix host, you can accomplish this automatic forwarding by creating a file named

- note the dot at the beginning of the filename! - in your home directory in that account. This file should contain the email address to which you want all your email forwarded, in this case:
-- nothing more and nothing less. After creating the .forward file, send yourself a message to your lella@here.edu address, then check whether it arrived in your lombardi@elsewhere.net email INBOX.

Note: establishing this .forward file only forwards messages arriving from now on, not those already in your account. For achieving that, see the next Question and Answer below.

If you

then ask the technical support staff for your here.edu account for assistance on how to forward email from it to another address.

3.5 How can I forward messages I have already saved in Pine to another account?

To copy messages you already have saved in PINE to another account, you can use one of these methods: They are listed in order of probable preference based on safety and practicality, but each has its advantages, disadvantages, and specific requirements, so you should evaluate carefully which one might work best in your particular situation. It is best to do this while you still have access to both accounts, and the technical support people of the organizations providing them, for a while. Regardless of which method (except for the first one) you choose, you should be able to access both accounts simultaneously to monitor the operation's progress. In particular, do not delete any messages before you have assured yourself that their transfer has completed, and that they are accessible, as expected.
Store messages on personal computer using PC-Pine
Note: for this method to work, the messages in your present account - the one from which you wish to transfer messages to another account - must be stored on an IMAP server. If in doubt, contact your local computing support people. This method has the advantage that you do not already have to have your "other" account established; however, that account should be one that will allow you to use PC-Pine. If you already have the "other" account, also see the method Save directly to folders in other account using IMAP for an alternative; it also works using PC-Pine.

If you have your own personal computer, install PC-Pine on it. After installing, check enable-aggregate-command-set in PC-Pine's SETUP CONFIGURATION screen, and read that feature's context-sensitive help, as you will use it for transferring your messages.

Then, create folder collection definitions for the IMAP server on which your messages are stored, and for your PC's hard disk and/or floppy disk. For the syntax on defining these folder collections, see PC-Pine's context-sensitive help for folder-collections in the SETUP CONFIGURATION screen for versions up to and including 3.96. (In PC-Pine 4, from the MAIN MENU, go to SETUP collectionList, then choose Add Cltn.) In the folder collection(s) on your PC, you can create folders for saving messages to first, or you can do that "on the fly" while saving messages to your PC from the IMAP server later - just enter the name of the folder you want on your PC, and then confirm when prompted for its creation. Then, for each folder on the IMAP server, Select the messages to transfer, then Apply-Save them to a folder in (one of) the folder collection(s) on your PC. Don't be suprised - especially if you are using a modem connection from your PC to do this - if saving messages to folders on your PC takes much longer than moving messages among folders using Unix PINE on the same account, since the messages have to be transported from the IMAP server to your PC.

Later, if you wish, you can transfer the messages from your PC to your other account if it supports IMAP server-based storage.

Save directly to folders in other account using IMAP
Note: enable-aggregate-command-set in your SETUP CONFIGURATION screen must be checked for this method to work. Read that feature's context-sensitive help if you are not familiar with it. This method requires that your other account allow you to store messages on an IMAP server (check with that account's provider if in doubt).
Save the messages from each PINE folder in your current account to a folder on your other account's IMAP server, using Select, Apply and Save. For the syntax on defining the folder (collection) for your other account so you can save messages to them with PINE, see PINE's context-sensitive help for folder-collections in the SETUP CONFIGURATION screen for versions up to and including 3.96. (In PINE 4, see the context-sensitive help for the COLLECTION LIST screen.) When accessing the folder in your other account to save to, you may be prompted for that account's username (if you did not specify it in your folder (collection) definition already) and password. Don't be suprised if saving messages to folders in your other account takes longer than moving messages among folders in the same account on which you are currently using PINE, since the messages have to be transported across the Internet to the other account's IMAP server.

Copy mail folders via FTP or rcp or portable storage medium
Transfer the file(s) containing the mail folder(s) to the other account using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or rcp (remote file copy), or save them to a portable medium such as floppy disks, removable hard disks, or backup tapes; see also 3.3 How do I transfer messages from Pine on a Unix host to my PC?. If you have questions about how to use FTP or rcp after consulting these utilities' documentation (man ftp or man rcp at the Unix prompt), where your mail folder files are located, or how to save mail folder files to a portable storage medium, contact your local computing support people.

However, using the mail folders thus transferred with an email client in your other account will only work if the email client you are using with your other account supports the same mail folder format used with PINE. To use the FTP transfer method, you will also have to be able to FTP "into" your other account (preferrably the area where mail folders are stored), which is often not the case with POP (Post Office Protocol) accounts; check with the account provider if in doubt. To use the rcp transfer method, both accounts need to be on Unix hosts, and you need to have shell access on both.

As an alternative to transferring the mail folder files directly, which will not work if they are stored on a host you cannot directly log into (which is often the case at least for your INBOX), you can Select, Apply (enable-aggregate-command-set in your SETUP CONFIGURATION screen must be checked) and Export messages from folders to files and then transfer those files; however, this will at least temporarily increase your storage capacity requirements - a consideration if your PINE account has a storage quota.

Before using either of the next two methods, be sure that

Send folders as attachments to email messages
Note: For this method to work, your PINE mail folders have to be stored on the same host as the one on which PINE is running; on Unix hosts, this is typically your ~/mail/ directory. Increasingly, message folders are instead stored on a dedicated IMAP server. In that case, this method won't work for you. If in doubt about the location of your mail folders, contact your local computing support people. You also should be comfortable with the process of sending attachments with PINE email messages.

Since each PINE mail folder is stored as a file, you can attach one or more of those files to a PINE email message and send that to your other account. There, you can then save each attachment (file containing a PINE message folder) back to disk. However, using the mail folders thus transferred with an email client in your other account will only work if the email client you are using with your other account supports the same mail folder format used with PINE.

Bounce messages
Among those listed here, this method should work most independently of your other account's and email software's attributes. However, use this method judiciously, as forwarding many email messages at once consumes considerable system and network resources. Note: in your PINE SETUP CONFIGURATION screen, enable-aggregate-command-set and enable-bounce-cmd must be checked, and fcc-on-bounce should not be checked, for this method.
  1. Go to the PINE folder from which you want to forward messages.
  2. Select (;) the messages you wish to forward.
  3. Choose Apply, then Bounce.
  4. At the BOUNCE (redirect) N messages to : prompt, enter, or choose from your addressbook, the email address of your other account. Confirm at the Send N messages? prompt.
  5. The messages should all appear in the INBOX of your other account. You may want to move them to other folders in your other account before repeating this procedure with other folders in the account from which you are forwarding, unless you don't mind messages you had saved from different folders all being together in your INBOX, from where you may have to sort them out into different folders again.

3.5.1 While I'm transferring my messages ... how do I transfer my email addressbook?

When transferring your PINE message folders to another account, you may also wish to transfer your PINE addressbook. You can do this by attaching the addressbook file to an email message, and saving that attachment from the received message in your other account, as described for message folder files in Send folders as attachments to email messages ; or copying it to your other account or PC, as described for message folder files in Copy mail folders via FTP or rcp or portable storage medium. The addressbook for Unix PINE is by default stored in your ~/.addressbook file. If you will need to use the PINE addressbook with another email client, see 6.5 How do I convert from Pine Address Book to/from the equivalents in Eudora, Netscape, Pegasus, ... ? .

3.6 What happens when two Pine sessions access the same mailbox at the same time?

This varies depending on what format your folders are stored in. With the default Berkeley format, the last session to open a folder will get full access to the folder and the previous session(s) will be changed to read-only access. When a folder is read-only, you will not see any further updates to that folder until it is reopened with full access. Currently the INBOX cannot be reopened without exiting and restarting Pine. With the Tenex format, any number of sessions can simultaneously have full access to a folder, with the exception that expunging is disabled. See "What is a Tenex mailbox and why should I use it?" for more information.

3.7 What does "Folder Format Invalidated..." mean?

The message "Folder Format Invalidated (consult an expert), aborted" means that Pine was reading your mail folder, and at the point in which it expected a start-of-message header line, it found something else.

The ``format invalidated'' condition can happen in one of three ways:
1. bad data exists at the beginning of the folder.
2. data was appended to the folder after Pine initially read it, and the new data did not begin with a start-of-message-header.
3. the folder was modified without Pine being aware of it.
All three problems are generally caused by software external to Pine.

Condition (1) can be determined by whether or not the problem repeats itself after restarting Pine. If restarting Pine does not make the problem go away, then you need to look at the actual file for the folder and see what is wrong with the very first line. In particular, make sure that there are no blank lines at the beginning of the file and that the first character of the folder file is a capital ``F'' , the second an ``r'', the third an ``o'', etc. In the case of an INBOX, you may want to rename the folder so that new mail can be delivered while repairs on the corrupt folder are being done.

Condition (2) may be caused by a mail delivery process (e.g. /bin/mail) which writes some characters other than ``From '' at the beginning of the new data.

Condition (3) is caused by another program manipulating the mail folder without following the normal folder locking protocols. This is a general problem on UNIX.

Conditions (2) and (3) have also been known to occur when accessing folders via NFS, if the information returned by the stat() and read() system calls do not correspond with each other as a result of NFS attribute caching.

Restarting Pine on that folder always clears conditions (2) and (3). If the problem is chronic, it may be worth an investigation to determine its cause. Usually, it is due to the misbehavior of some external software. The reason why Pine gives up with conditions (2) and (3) is that it does not want to risk damaging user data by guessing what is right. Pine never writes to the folder unless it is absolutely sure it knows what it is doing.

There are some steps which can be taken to reduce the risk of these conditions coming up. Some of these steps may require the assistance of your system administrator (or whomever it was that built and installed Pine on your system):

  1. Use IMAP instead of NFS to access remote folders. Problems with locking over NFS are perhaps the single most important cause of user difficulties. Using IMAP eliminates this class of problem.
  2. Consider enabling the mbox driver in Pine. If the mbox driver is enabled, mail is transferred from the /usr/spool/mail mail into a file called mbox in your home directory, if mbox exists. The home directory mbox file is then your INBOX. This has the advantage that Pine and the mail delivery system are less often in contention for the INBOX, and never both trying to update it. Pine only empties the /usr/spool/mail file, it never tries updating it.
  3. Be careful not to run other programs that modify your folders while you are running Pine. Such programs may change the folder out from under Pine, and lead Pine to conclude that there is a problem with its view of the file.

3.8 What does the message "locked, override in _XXX_ sec" mean?

The message "locked, will override in _xxx_ seconds" occurs when Pine has discovered that some other mail program claims to be accessing your mail folder (i.e. _folder_.lock exists). This is a very low-level lock used by programs such as the system mailer in delivering mail, and by certain programs such as mail, elm, babyl, mm, etc. Supposedly, this lock is only to be acquired and held for a very short period of time (less than a second).

Pine starts with 285 seconds, retries every second, and issues that message every 15 seconds. The total period of time, 5 minutes, is the time that it will keep on trying before it concludes that the lock is false -- that is, that whatever program locked the folder forgot to unlock it (perhaps it crashed) -- and Pine will go ahead and claim the lock for itself.

This is not due to a conflict between two copies of Pine, since Pine interlocks against itself in a higher-level fashion.

NOTE: On some systems with 14 character filename limits, attempting to open a folder with a 14 character name (e.g. saved-messages) will trigger this sequence. Folder names should be limited to 9 characters or less on those systems.

3.9 Why doesn't "attached-to-ansi" printing work?

So-called "attached-to-ansi" printing relies on the communication software you are using to interpret certain special character sequences that tell it to divert the incoming stream of characters to your printer, and then back to your screen. Perhaps 99% of "pine printing problems" are either due to PC or Mac communications software that doesn't understand ANSI escape sequences for printing, or (in the dialin case) software flow- control problems.

We didn't understand how big a problem software flow control was until 3.90 came out... we changed pine to intercept flow control characters so that users would not see Pine "wedge" mysteriously if a mis-type or noise generated a control-S, but that did bad things when printers, modems, or comm software was depending on s/w flow control.

So in 3.91 we added the "preserve-start-stop-characters" feature, so that Pine could be configured to respect s/w flow control characters (if the operating system did) for those folks who needed them. Enabling this feature should make Pine 3.91 behave the same way as earlier versions.

Then we discovered that some operating systems don't enable software flow control by default. So starting in 3.92, the "preserve-start-stop-characters" feature does more than "not ignoring" them, it will try to force the OS to pay attention to them.

So here's the sequence of things to try if you have pine printing problems:

 1. Check For Software Flow-Control Problems
    A. Try enabling "preserve-start-stop-characters" (requires 3.91 or later)
    B. If that doesn't help, verify that the OS is enabling s/w flow
       control; if it isn't, you can either change that in a global 
       .login script, or as a worst case, wrap pine in a script that does 
       it.  By the way, on our AIX systems, we had to execute "stty -ixon"
       followed by "stty ixon" --no one here knows why the first stty
       is needed.  (Note that explicitly enabling s/w flow control in the OS 
       will not be needed in 3.92 or later).
    C. If neither of the above apply, double-check that you actually have
       *some* kind of flow control enabled on your system, either hardware
       or software.
 2. Check Your Comm Software For Ansi Printing Capability
    A. After ruling out s/w flow control problems, if printing still 
       doesn't work, the odds are that the PC or Mac comm s/w is at fault.
       I don't know how to determine this other than via trial-and-error
       and word-of-mouth.  
    B. The "ansiprt" utility included in the pine distribution can also 
       be used for testing.  It simply sends the specified text file to 
       user's terminal device, bracketed with the ANSI escape sequences 
       for print diversion.  This is just what Pine does as well (although
       some versions of ansiprt offer a few options not available via Pine.)
 3. Possible Other Printing Problems
    A. Printing via Pine's "attached-to-ansi" facility to a postscript-only
       printer.  Pine does not yet have the ability to encapsulate text
       into postscript, ala "enscript", so the custom print option using 
       enscript and ansiprt will be needed in that case.
    B. Other printer-specific configuration problems.  For example, 
       whether or not the printer needs a trailing formfeed to eject the 
       last page, or a control-D, or non-Unix newline conventions, etc.
       Many of these problem will also require using the custom print 
       command option and "ansiprt".

3.10 How can I use Pine for reading and posting Internet News?

This section was formerly part of the document Secrets of Pine.

Versions before Pine 3.9 were capable of reading Internet newsgroups (Usenet), but the ability to post messages to these newsgroups, or subscribe to them, was added in Pine 3.90.

It is possible that your system manager has configured Pine so that everyone on the system automatically has access to news. You can check this by looking for a news folder collection at the end of your FOLDER LIST for versions up to and including 3.96 (in version 4, COLLECTION LIST) - if it's not there, you will need to tell Pine the name of your local news server. Here are the steps:

  1. Choose the "Setup" command from the MAIN MENU.
  2. Select "Config".
  3. Use the down-arrow-key to select the option "nntp-server".
  4. Press "A" to Add a value to this option. Type in the name of the news server for your site, then press RETURN. You will need to get this information from your local computing/network support staff. A typical news server name would be: "news.nowhere.edu" (this one if fictional).
  5. Exit SETUP CONFIGURATION, save your modifications; you are returned to the MAIN MENU.
  6. Press "Q" to quit Pine; then restart Pine. This is necessary to have the above configuration change take effect.
  7. After restarting Pine, choose the FOLDER LIST screen by pressing "L" from the MAIN MENU.
  8. Select "News-collection" (you can press SPACE to move to the news- collection, which will be the last item in the FOLDER LIST (COLLECTION LIST in Pine 4) screen.)
  9. Press RETURN if you see: [ Select Here to See Expanded List ]. If you have used a different newsreader previously, you probably already have a news subscription file with your favorite news groups listed. If not, you need to add some...
  10. Press "A" to Add more news groups to your news subscription file. If you know the name of the group you wish to subscribe to, enter it at the prompt and press RETURN; otherwise, press the "To All Grps" key. Select the desired group and press RETURN. Repeat to add more groups.
  11. Once you have newsgroups displayed in the FOLDER LIST, you may select them just like mail folders.
One difference between news and (personal) mail folders: while you can mark News messages Deleted, just like with mail, you may not actually eXpunge them from the newsgroup folder, since the messages reside on a shared server. Instead, you may "eXclude" them from your own view, using the "X" command. You can restore them to the FOLDER INDEX display with the "& Unexclude" command. (See also 3.10.1 How do I mark all messages in a newsgroup as "read" or "deleted"?)

In order to remain compatible with other news readers, Pine uses the same news subscription file (".newsrc" in the Unix version). However, this file can record very little message state information. The "Deleted" flag is the only message status flag that is preserved between sessions.

When you reply to a news message, Pine will ask if you want to post the reply to the listed Newsgroups. When the current folder is a newsgroup and you enter the Composer, Pine will ask if you want to post to the current newsgroup. Even if you say "no", you may manually enter a newsgroup name, after exposing that header in the Composer by pressing Control-R. (There is also an optional feature (compose-sets-newsgroup-without-confirm) you can set in SETUP CONFIGURATION to suppress this prompt if you'd like Pine to assume that you want to Post whenever invoking the composer while reading a newsgroup folder.)

Here are some additional hints about using Pine for newsreading:

If you are searching for newsgroups in subject areas of your interest, check the directories of USENET newsgroups.

3.10.1 How do I mark all messages in a newsgroup as "read" or "deleted"?

Q&A submitted by: Timothy J. Luoma <luomat+pine@luomat.peak.org>

First, you need to make sure that you have access to all the commands 

        From the Main Menu, choose `S'etup and then `C'onfigure,
                then make sure that there are `X' marks next to these
                two options:

           [X]  enable-aggregate-command-set          
           [X]  enable-flag-cmd

To mark all messages as ``read'' or ``deleted'':

Press and release each of the following:
        ; = Select
        a = all
        a = apply
        * = flag

which will bring you to the ``FLAG MAINTENANCE'' screen (if you do NOT have
  [X]  enable-flag-screen-implicitly 
set in SETUP CONFIGURATION, select ^T To Flag Details to reach it now):

    Set desired flags for current message below.  An 'X' means set
    it, and a ' ' means to unset it.  Choose "Exit" when finished.

            Set        Flag Name
            ---   ----------------------
            [ ]  Important
            [X]  New      
            [ ]  Answered 
            [ ]  Deleted  

        ? Help  E Exit Flags    P Prev  - PrevPage      Y prYnt             
                X [Set/Unset]   N Next  Spc NextPage    W WhereIs          

Using the arrow keys, move down to ``New'' and press `X' until it looks like 

            Set        Flag Name
            ---   ----------------------
            [ ]  Important
            [ ]  New      
            [ ]  Answered 
            [ ]  Deleted  

NOTE: if you want to DELETE all the messages, the process is the same EXCEPT 
at this point you should use the arrow keys to move down to ``Deleted'' and 
press `X' until it looks like this:

            Set        Flag Name
            ---   ----------------------
            [ ]  Important
            [ ]  New      
            [ ]  Answered 
            [X]  Deleted  

TO EXIT: Press `E' for EXIT FLAGS as seen at the bottom menu.

POWER TIP: To select and DELETE all the messages in a mailbox or newsgroup,:

Press and release each of the following:
        ; = Select
        a = all
        a = apply
        d = delete

3.11 How can I tell immediately whether I have received new mail?

By default, Pine automatically checks for new mail every 2.5 minutes. (You can change this time interval with the mail-check-interval option in the SETUP CONFIGURATION screen.)

When viewing the FOLDER INDEX, you can force Pine to check for new mail by pressing ^L, or if on the last item in the Index, by pressing "N". The eXpunge command will also force a new-mail check. If you would like to have some visual indication of when Pine is checking for new mail, set the enable-mail-check-cue feature and watch for an asterisk to flash in the upper-left-hand corner of the screen. (Two asterisks mean that Pine is check-pointing --saving state changes in-- your INBOX.)

3.12 Pine seems to ignore some of my command keystrokes - why?

If some control characters don't work in Pine (or Pico), it is probably because the communication or operating system software you are using is intercepting those characters before they get to Pine. Some that are more likely to be intercepted include ^C, ^J, ^O, ^^, and ^_ . If you are unable to reconfigure your communication software to correct this, a work-around is to press the ESCAPE key twice followed by the desired control key. For example, ^C would be simulated by pressing "ESC ESC C" and "^^" would be "ESC ESC ^".

3.13 What are these .pine-debug files for?

Q&A submitted by: Timothy J. Luoma <luomat+pine@luomat.peak.org>

(From the PINE source code:)
The files are useful for figuring out what a user did when he complains that something went wrong. It's important to keep a bunch around, usually 4, so that the debug file in question will still be around when the problem gets investigated. Users tend to go in and out of Pine a few times and there is one file for each pine invocation.

3.13.1 Can I delete the .pine-debug files?

Yes, but there's really no need to do so. PINE will only keep a certain amount of them around, usually 4. The files are rather small and do no harm.

3.13.2 How do I change the number of .pine-debug files kept or prevent the .pine-debug files from being created?

You can prevent the files from being created by using the -d flag as follows:

-d n

If n=0, no debug files will be created.

You can change the level of debugging done with numbers 1-9:
1 logs only highest level events and errors
2 logs events like file writes
4 logs each command
7 logs details of command execution (7 is highest to run any production)
9 logs gross details of command execution

For systems administrators and advanced users, see also 7.14 Where is the .pine-debug setting set at compile-time?.

3.14 What are the messages with the subject DON'T DELETE THIS MESSAGE -- FOLDER INTERNAL DATA about?

From the Pine 4.01 Release Notes:

Beginning with version 4.00, Pine supports enhanced functionality for sites using the standard Unix mailbox format or the MMDF mailbox format. It does this by creating a "pseudo-message" at the beginning of the folder which holds the following values:

These values are essential for the correct operation of modern IMAP and POP servers (which use persistent unique identifiers, or UIDs), but Pine also needs them to support capabilities such as being able to mark messages as Answered when the Reply has been postponed, and (on systems where Unix or MMDF folder formats are not standard), the ability to create a folder in one of these formats. (Without the pseudo message to identify the mailbox format type, the folder would be empty and Pine would not know the desired format type for subsequent use.)

One disadvantage of this scheme is that mailers that are not built on top of the University of Washington's message access subroutine libraries will not "hide" the pseudo message from users. Another disadvantage of having these pseudo messages is that, when found in folders used to receive new messages, some mail notification tools may be confused and behave incorrectly. There are several solutions to this problem. For example, some sites have modified the notification tools to ignore mailboxes whose length corresponds to the pseudo message. However, these pseudo messages may be deemed undesirable at sites where IMAP or POP are not used, and where it is more important to support other unmodified mail tools than to permit Pine to be able to mark messages as Answered when the Reply is postponed. Accordingly, Pine 4.01 offers a new feature to "quell-folder-internal-msg".

Note that this feature only relates to mailboxes in standard Unix or MMDF format.

3.14.1 What does the quell-folder-internal-msg feature do?

This feature, introduced in Pine 4.01, determines whether or not Pine will create "pseudo messages" in folders that are in standard Unix or MMDF format.

Pine will normally create these pseudo messages when they are not already present in a standard Unix or MMDF folder. Their purpose is to record certain mailbox state data needed for correct IMAP and POP server operation, and also for Pine to be able to mark messages as Answered when the Reply has been postponed.

Sites which do not use IMAP/POP for remote mail access, and which need to support mail tools that are adversely affected by the presence of the pseudo-messages (e.g. some mail notification tools) may enable this feature to tell Pine not to create them. Note that Pine's "Answered" flag capability will be adversely affected if this is done.

Note too that, even if this feature is enabled, Pine will not remove pseudo-messages when it encounters them (e.g. those created by UW's imapd or ipopd servers.) This feature has no effect on folders that are not in standard Unix or MMDF format, as pseudo-messages are not needed in the other formats to record mailbox state information.

3.15 Why is command X not available?

Some of the Pine commands you may read or hear about have to be explicitly enabled in the SETUP CONFIGURATION screen, which is accessed from Pine's MAIN MENU, to be functional. For example, to be able to use the "Bounce" command, the following feature has to be checked:
     [X]  enable-bounce-cmd
and to be able to use the "Select"/"Apply" operations, you must first check:
     [X]  enable-aggregate-command-set
Also note: The key menu at the bottom of the message composer does not show all of the available commands. Use "^G Get Help" for a complete list.

3.16 How do I send a message to multiple recipients without showing all their names?

In Pine's message composer, with the cursor in the message headers area, press Ctrl-R ("rich headers"). Then read the context-sensitive help screens for the Bcc: and Lcc: fields.

3.17 Can Pine be used with a POP server?

Versions of PC-Pine prior to 4.00 cannot be used with a POP (Post Office Protocol) server. With Unix Pine, and with PC-Pine 4.00, you can access a POP server in "online" mode. That is, Pine will start a POP3 session and keep it open until the mailbox is closed. Due to the nature of the POP3 protocol, Pine will not see any new mail which arrives during the POP3 session.

To access the message INBOX on a POP3 server, use the folder definition syntax:

or, especially useful if your POP account user-id is different from the one in your Pine configuration:
where pop3server is the hostname of the POP3 server, and popuserid your user-id for your POP account. However, this method accesses the POP server in quasi-online mode, not in offline mode, which POP was designed for. Accessing the inbox on a POP3 server with Pine does not preserve changes to message flags (New, Answered, Deleted, etc.) between sessions.

As an alternative, a program such as fetchmail (which supercedes popclient) can be used to download email from a POP server to a local Unix account, where it can then be accessed with Pine. fetchmail can be obtained from:

For a more detailed comparison of the POP and IMAP protocols, and discussion of the various message access modes (online, offline, disconnected), see Message Access Paradigms and Protocols at the URL:
and RFC 1733: Distributed Electronic Mail Models in IMAP4.

Pine does not support the old POP2 protocol, and there are no plans to do so.

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Modified: September 23, 1998