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
-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.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Several enhancements by Tomas Hoger <email@example.com>.
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