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       mailcheck - Check multiple mailboxes and/or Maildirs for new mail


       mailcheck [-lbcsh] [-f rcfile]


       mailcheck is a simple, configurable tool that allows multiple mailboxes
       to be checked for the existence of mail.  For local mail,  it  supports
       both  the  traditional  mbox format and the newer Maildir format.  Mail
       can also be checked for on remote servers using either the POP3 or IMAP

       Typically,  one  would  invoke  mailcheck  in  /etc/profile  or a user-
       specific login script.  E-mail junkies  may  also  find  it  useful  to
       invoke  mailcheck  occasionally  to  check  for  new  mail in alternate

       The author uses  mailcheck  to  keep  track  of  messages  arriving  in
       mailboxes corresponding to several mailing lists he subscribes to.


       -l     Runs  mailcheck  in  login mode.  If a ~/.hushlogin file exists,
              mailcheck will exit silently.  This option  is  intended  to  be
              used on systems that invoke mailcheck from a global login script
              such as /etc/profile.

       -b     Brief mode.   Produces  less  verbose  output.   If  mailbox  or
              Maildir  is  inside  user’s home direcory, only relative path is
              printed to output.

       -c     Use  more  advanced  counting  method.   While  counting  mails,
              mailcheck  looks  inside  mboxes  and Maildirs and count new and
              unread messages separately.  If mbox/maildir  does  not  contain
              any  new  or  unread  mail, it’s excluded from report.  Produced
              output contains more valuable information, but  this  method  is
              more time-consuming.

       -s     Print "no mail" summary.  If no new mail message is found, print
              at least "no mail message" at the  end.   Only  makes  sense  in
              combination with -c.

       -f     Specify  alternative  rc  file  location.   If provided, default
              locations (see FILES) are not checked.

       -h     Print short usage information.


       Configuring mailcheck is simple.  Upon startup, mailcheck looks  for  a
       file  called  .mailcheckrc  in the user’s home directory.  If that file
       does not exist, the default configuration file /etc/mailcheckrc is used

       Lines  beginning  with a hash sign (#) are treated as comments and will
       not be processed.  Lines beginning with pop3: or imap: are parsed  like
       URLs  and used to connect to network mail servers.  All other lines are
       treated as pathnames to mailbox files or Maildir directories.

       Environment variables in the format $(NAME) will  be  expanded  inline.
       For example:

              Will check the user’s mailbox in /var/spool/mail.

              Will check the default mailbox used by qmail installations.

       When  connecting  to  POP3 or IMAP servers, the account password is not
       stored in the mailcheckrc file.  Instead, the .netrc file in the user’s
       home  directory  is  used.  This file, originally intended for use with
       ftp(1) and later used by fetchmail(1), should be readable only  by  the
       user  owning  it.   It  stores server/user/password combinations in the

       machine servername login username password password


              This is  the  site-default  mailcheck  configuration  file.   It
              should  be  edited by the system administrator to meet the needs
              of most users on the system.

              This is the user-specific mailcheck configuration file.   If  it
              exists  for  a  particular  user, the site-default configuration
              file will not be used.

              This  tells  mailcheck  what  password  to  use  for   a   given
              server/user combination when checking POP3 or IMAP mail.


       Copyright (C) 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, Jefferson E. Noxon.

       Portions Copyright (C) 1996, Free Software Foundation, Inc.

       Portions Copyright (C) 1996, Gordon Matzigkeit.

       Portions Copyright (C) 1998, Trent Piepho.

       Other copyrights may apply.

       This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
       under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published  by  the
       Free  Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your
       option) any later version.

       On Debian GNU/Linux see /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL


       Mailcheck was written  for  Debian  GNU/Linux  by  Jefferson  E.  Noxon


       POP3 and IMAP support was added by Rob Funk <>.

       Several enhancements by Tomas Hoger <>.


       It is probably not a good idea to store passwords in a .netrc file.

       No SSL/TLS support for POP3 and IMAP.


       netrc(5), mbox(5), maildir(5), login(1), fetchmail(1)

                                  2 July 2005