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Faculty of Mathematics | Computerlab
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pine / alpine

To read e-mail with pine (alpine) from the IMAP server, the value of the following variable must be changed in the file ~/.pinerc:


An existing local inbox should then be copied to the IMAP server, using the following command:

/vol/opt/bin/local2imap ~/.inbox INBOX

For a large .inbox this can take a while - please be patient (you may have to answer some questions with yes).

In an analogous way, other local folders may be copied to the IMAP server, but this is not compulsory. You can also continue to use the local folders. The first argument of the above command is always the path to the local folder, and the second argument the path to the IMAP folder, relative to the IMAP folder directory.

In order to also use the previous local mail folders, in addition to the ones on the IMAP server, it is convenient to configure more than one folder directory in ~/.pinerc:

folder-collections=IMAP {}[], Local mail/[]

Here ~/mail would be your local mail directory. The first folder directory - here IMAP - is the default directory to which mail folders are saved.

As an alternative, you could continue to work with a local folder directory, and use IMAP only for the INBOX. This is achieved if you leave away the IMAP folder in the variable folder-collections:

folder-collections=Local mail/[]

In doing so, a number of advantages of IMAP are given up (rapid search and opening of large folders), but the transition to IMAP becomes especially simple, and the local e-mail folders will continue to be used.

If you intend to use pine directly on a notebook or an external computer, you will need to configure also the outgoing mail server:

set smtp_url=smtp://


The second line instructs pine not to attempt authentication by Kerberos, which cannot work due to a lacking Kerberos ticket. On such a computer you will have no Kerberos ticket available, and so you will need to authenticate with your password to the outgoing mail server, as well as to the IMAP server.

If the local login name does not coincide with that at the faculty, you must in addition append /user=<your-login-name> to /tls in the variables inbox-path, folder-collections and smtp-server.