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alpine_e-mail_from_the_command_line

H> Alpine, e-mail from the command line

By Peter Tesar

Alpine is a text based e-mail client. It will work in the terminal (with Orca) and in the console (with Speakup). Speakup's 'cursoring on' is the default and it works best with the editing of fields. For most other uses, turn on the Speakup 'highlight tracking' with the numpad star ‘*’.

You must have a network connection to send and receive messages.

H> Starting alpine

At the command line type:
$ alpine

The status line is the third last line on the screen. It shows a message or prompt. Use Speakup's flat review to read it.

On start-up, there is a prompt: … Enter login user name Then enter the password prompt.

To get alpine to remember the user name and prompt, you must create a password file in the home directory. Use:
$ touch .pine-passfile

After logging in, the status line may show:
folder 'INBOX' open with 23 messages – 5 new

The last two lines show some screen relevant commands. Some are single characters and some are preceded with the control key.

The '?' question mark character provides screen sensitive help.
'o' will display other commands relevant to that screen.

H> The Main Menu Screen

The first screen will have the main menu with the first line:
Alpine 2.0 MAIN MENU Folder: INBOX 38 messages

Type a single letter to access the menu options.
e.g. 'i' to bring up the current folder's message index (list) or 'q' to quit.

H> Setup and Configure to send and receive messages

From the main menu press 's' (Setup) and then 'c' (config).

Move to the next option with the down arrow or tab.

Note: There is an inconvenience with the synthesizer and alpine 2.00. Each tab will announce two fields. One is highlighted and the other is not. Wait to hear the highlighted field refreshed every 8 seconds. This can be confusing if the refreshing occurs while editing a field.

There are many options, some are edit fields and some are check boxes. Sometimes the focus will jump ahead so press Home to return to the top.

the [x] denotes a check box, press ENTER to toggle it.

If a field already has a value, it may be safer to first delete it with 'd'.
Press 'a' to add (cursor placed before the text).
Press 'c' to change (cursor placed at the end of the text).

After adding or changing, press ENTER (return) to accept.
Press 'e' to exit and save the configuration settings.

Here are the necessary edit fields that you will have to fill in, in order to send and receive messages. Fill them in using my example.
My example for an e-mail address will be: user@domain.com

personal Name = First Last
user Domain = domain.com
SMTP Server (for sending) = mail.domain.com:port#/novalidate-cert/user=jsmith/ssl
note: optional: port #, novalidate certificate, user and ssl.
inbox path = pop.domain.com
note: after entering the pop address, press ENTER to accept. At the prompt for the folder, enter 'inbox' and press ENTER to accept.

Here are a few configuration text fields and check boxes to consider changing:

Read Message Folder = no value set
[] spell check before sending
[] include text in reply
[] prefer plain text
[] expunge manually (messages marked for deletion)
[] quit without confirming
[] show cursor
[] suppress status message beeping

Note: for some, it will be easier to edit the '.pinerc' configuration file in the home directory. Backup this file.

Here are the two .pinerc file examples for sending and incoming mail (with options):
smtp-server=smtp.domain.com/novalidate-cert/user=/ssl
inbox-path={pop.domain.com/novalidate-cert/ssl/user=
}inbox

H> Reading a message

On the main menu screen, the first line will display the current folder:
… Folder: INBOX 38 messages

Press 'i' (folder index) to bring up the message index (list).

These messages are numbered and the high numbers are the most current.
If the screen's first line has the following:
… Folder: INBOX 7 of 38 NEW

This means that messages 7 through 38 are new and 7 is highlighted.

Speakup cannot tell that message 7 is highlighted. Arrow up and then down to hear the Status, message number, date, time, sender and subject.

Some status field characters are:
n – new
d - marked for deletion (to be expunged manually or on quitting alpine)
x - selected flag (set manually)
* - (star) important flag (set manually)

Arrow (up/down) to the desired message and press ENTER or 'v' to view it. With long messages, use the space bar to advance the page. The percent progress will be announced.

Press 'n' to view the next message. Press the '<' less than sign to close the message and return to the index list.

Move up and down the message list with the page-up, page-down, home, end and space bar.

On quitting alpine, you will be prompted to confirm deletion of the marked messages.

Note about the date displayed.
The current messages will have only today’s time displayed.
Messages prior to today may have the words:
yesterday, Friday, Thursday, etc or month day.
The most recent messages may be dated 'tomorrow'.

H> Sending a message

From the main menu, press 'c' to compose a new message. Fill in the appropriate fields and arrow-down through the to:, CC:, Subject and body fields.

When in the to: or cc: fields, the ctrl+t will take an address from the address book. Arrow down the address book list of entries and press ENTER. Multiple addresses can be separated with a ',' (comma.

Fill in the body of the message. To insert a text file press ctrl+r (read in). At the prompt, type a text file name in the Home directory.

Press ctrl+x to send it. Press ENTER to confirm sending.

H> Printing a Message

When viewing a message, select the print command. If the default print command is not successful, change the default printer to another from the list in:
Main Menu | Setup | Printer.

If still not successful, try this.
When viewing the message, press 'e' to export
Type a file name
The message will be saved as a text file in the home directory
Quit Alpine.

At the home directory prompt, send the text file to the default printer with:
$ lp message.txt

H> Address Book

From the main menu, press the letter ‘a’ to bring up the address book list.
Arrow down through the entries.
Press ENTER to display the entry fields, review them with the flat review.
Press 'u' to update.
Arrow down through the edit fields to make necessary changes.
Note: Speakup's 'cursoring on' will announce the contents of the fields.
Press ctrl+x to save the changes and exit or ctrl+c to cancel.

Other commands allow you to add, delete or compose to an entry.

Press the '@' at sign to add a new address book entry.
Focus will be on the Nickname field. Press ENTER and move down through the fields.
The Full Name and address e-mail fields will be filled in.
Press ctrl+x to save and exit.

When viewing a message, press 't' to add the message sender to the address book.
A pop up list will show all from and to addresses found in the message.
Arrow up or down to highlight an address.
Press 't' to take the address.
Focus will be on the nick name field.
Type a nick name or just press ENTER.
Note: Speakup's 'cursoring on' will work better here.
All edit fields will pop up, with focus on the nick name field.
Arrow down, fill in desired fields (the address is already filled in).
Press ctrl+x to save and exit.

When composing, you can copy an entry, from the address book, into the To: or CC: fields. Press ctrl+t and arrow down to the desired entry and then press ENTER.

Backup the '.addressbook' file in the home directory.

H> Attachments

To send an attachment:
When composing, arrow down past the CC: field, to the attachment field
Enter a file that resides in the home directory
Arrow down and fill in the Subject and Body, send the message.

To read an attachment:
Open the message that contains an attachment
To verify that there is an attachment, read down past the Date, From, To andSubject
Look for lines with the words: Parts/Attachments
Press the '>' greater than sign to view the ATTACHMENT INDEX (list)
Arrow down to highlight the number 2 line. The attached file name is given.

Note: the highlighted line will be refreshed and announced frequently.
With some formats, the status line will show:
Don’t know how to display … attachments. Try save.

Note about attachments.
Alpine uses the text file, /etc/mailcap file or .mailcap file (in your home directory) to decide what to use with the attachments.
e.g. playing audio files
You can get more information from: $ man mailcap.

H> Locate an Alpine Folder

From the main menu, press 'l' for the alpine folder list.
Arrow right to highlight a folder.

Screen sensitive commands include ‘d’ to delete or ‘r’ to rename’.
Press ENTER to make the highlighted folder current and show the message index list.

H> Adding or Creating a New Alpine Folder

From the main menu, press 'l'.
Press 'a' to add.
At the prompt, type the new folder name.

H> Moving a Message to another Folder

When viewing a message, press the letter‘s’ to send.
At the prompt type a destination folder name.
The message will reside in the other folder and it will be marked for deletion in the current folder.

If the destination folder does not exist, there will be a creation prompt.

On quitting alpine, there will be a prompt to move inbox messages to another folder and/or to expunge read messages from the INBOX. If you want to keep them you will have to add a folder, i.e. 'trash'.
This folder name must be pointed to in:
Configuration | Read Message Folder = trash
Note: the messages in 'trash' will not be deleted automatically.

The first time alpine is started each month, there will be a prompt to archive some folders.

H> Select all before deleting or sending messages to another folder

When viewing the folder index of messages, press the semi colon ';' character.
From the select criteria prompt, press 'a' for all.
The status field will have an 'x' for all messages.
Press 'a' to apply and press 'd' or 's'.
With 's' there will be a prompt for the destination folder to send to..
Press ENTER to accept the default or type another folder.
If the folder does not exist, answer yes at the create prompt.

H> Export and Import

To export a message:
when viewing a message, press 'e' to export
at the prompt, enter a file name
the text file will be saved in the home directory.

To export a folder:
on the list of folders, highlight the one to backup
press 'e' to export
type the backup file name and it will be saved in the home directory.

To Import a folder:
when on the list of folders, press 'u' to import
type the backup folder name, press ENTER
type the folder name to import into.

!!End of Article

alpine_e-mail_from_the_command_line.txt · Last modified: 2013/07/03 14:27 (external edit)