Help Enabling 'mail' in the Mac OS X command line ...
September 20, 2006 7:46 AM   Subscribe

In need of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Enabling/Getting the 'Mail' Unix Command to E-Mail You Stuff, for Complete and Utter Dummies."

I'm middlin' competent with Unix within Mac OS X ... I know how to build stuff, have some stuff aliased, know what "apropos" does, have investigated the various command-line switches for "ls", have written a couple of shell scripts to make my life easier, etc.

In other words, I'm by no means an expert, but I'm not uncomfortable in the environment. (I use tcsh, however, not bash; tcsh used to be the default shell in earlier versions of OS X, and I didn't make the switchover to bash when Mac OS X did.)

I've seen quite a few cases in which the ability to e-mail myself something from the command line ... either as the results of a shell script, as reminders to my cell phone's e-mail address, or ... well, I use the remind command-line utility to take care of my schedule, so the ability to e-mail that schedule to my inbox would be quite useful.

The key to that is the mail command-line utility. However, I have no idea how to get that working and set up. And what would the sender's e-mail address look like? Would it be something like (my Mac user account name)@(local Unix name for computer)? If so, is there any way that I can get it to use my Internet service provider, so that the e-mails look like they're coming from my normal home address? (I use RCN; full address in my MeFi profile, if you need it.)

And are there any security concerns I need worry about?

Answers appreciated; links appreciated if they're very step-by-step and address the concerns above.

This'd be an enormous productivity boost for me. Help greatly appreciated in advance!
posted by WCityMike to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
OS X comes with Postfix. If you configure it and start it running, you'll be able to send mail. Here's a start. No doubt there are numerous step-by-step guides available with a google search like "configure postfix mac os x".

If you only need to send mail, the configuration is easy. If you also want to receive mail (via your Mac OS X machine rather than your normal ISP email account), then it gets harder.

The sender's address isn't terribly important. (It's like the return address on a letter you send; it's not important for the mail to be delivered in most cases.)
posted by jellicle at 8:00 AM on September 20, 2006

On the Postfix (mail sending) side, I've had good luck with Postfix Enabler. That'll spare you some time in the bowels of someone's tutorial.
posted by mph at 8:33 AM on September 20, 2006

I'm running tcsh in 10.4 -- I just tested, and sending mail from the command line worked fine without any setup or configuration on my part. Sender address showed exactly as you guessed: (me)@g4.local.

It's possible I'm forgetting some long-ago tweaking and did actually set something up at some point; if so I'm gonna be of no help, because I have no recollection of doing that at all.

So -- before you put any effort in, just give it a try if you haven't already; you may not have to do anything at all. Hey, you did ask for a "complete idiot" answer, so I'm assuming you didn't try before asking :) And in that spirit:

> mail (recipient@whatever)
you'll be prompted for a subject line, then just start typing away; send the mail either with ctrl-D or by putting a . as the last line of the message.

If that doesn't work, this should.
posted by ook at 11:51 AM on September 20, 2006

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