Introduction to Sending and Receiving Electronic Mail

Table of Contents


Please note, CS Email systems are for your academic and research purposes only. Please use your FSU email for all administrative communications.

By using email, you are able to send messages or entire files at your convenience to anyone, anywhere on the internet. The system automatically stores your mail until you are ready to read it. The mail clients available to you are Pine/Alpine, webmail, and Procmail. This guide is intended to introduce you to the basic uses of these programs. To learn about Procmail, read Procmail HowTo. Pay attention to procmail and maildir.


How to Send/Receive Mail

Pine/Alpine, and mailx/nail can be used to send and receive email and should be used from your home machine (ex. quake, shell, diablo). Procmail can be configured to sort incoming mail and do various processing tasks. gkrellm and xbiff can be used to monitor new emails. gkrellm and xbiff must be used in an Xwindows environment (On a linux machine or through Xming on a Windows machine). From the command line just type:

[program name] [-optional command line argument]


[program name] -h for a list of command-line options.

Reading Email

  • Use webmail. (Or open in your favorite web browser).
  • ssh into or and run command ‘pine’ or ‘alpine’.

Note: webmail now requires 2FA. See this page for detailed configurations.

How to Send/Receive Mail Using Outlook, or Other IMAP/SMTP Compatible Software

Your Computer Science e-mail may be accessed using any IMAP/SMTP compatible software, such as Microsoft Outlook, by entering in the following information into your software program:

IMAP server:

Port: 993 (select SSL for Outlook)

SMTP server:

Port: 587 (select TLS for Outlook)

Input your CS credential for authentication. Make sure you use STARTTLS or SSL options.

If you cannot send email using port 587, then try port 25 with TLS.

Forwarding Email Messages

To have your mail automatically forwarded to another mailbox you must modify your .forward file. To do this, please ssh into CS server like or with your CS account. At the command line when in your home directory type nano .forward and add one line per address and save the file. If you would still like your mail to be sent to your CS account, include a line with a backslash followed by your CS user name, e.g.


(replace mycsid and myfsuid with your real CS and FSU ids)

All future incoming mail should be forwarded before it is placed in your mail directory.

Mailing a file to another person

The procedure for sending a file to another person can be done from the command-line. The format for sending a file is:

% pine "address" <  "filename" (return)


% pine < set.list  (return)

This command tells the system that you want to send mail to and the mail is to contain a file entitled set.list. The redirection sign < tells the system that a file is to be sent. To add a message to a file see the section on vi.

Or use webmail and send the file as an attachment.

Note: A file’s size cannot exceed 75MB.

Pine Aliasing

Using aliases in Pine is easy, just go to the Pine Address book, select address, and write the address-list in the address space. See also: man pine(1)

Appending a Signature

In pine, you can create a custom signature by selecting Setup from the main menu, and by typing the signature command, s, from the setup menu. You will then be given a screen to type in your signature and choose ^X to save and exit. Your signature will then be automatically appended to all emails.

SMTPIN Spam Filter

MailScanner sits between two Sendmail processes; the first Sendmail receives mail, and does some checking of senders and recipients. If it is satisfied with both the sender and the recipients, it will enqueue the message for MailScanner. MailScanner will make a number of checks, including running SpamAssassin. If the message is accepted it is passed to an outgoing Sendmail process to go to for delivery.

If the message is not accepted by MailScanner, it quarantines the message. You can check the status of all of your email processed by MailScanner at, and you can modify your own preferences for blacklists, whitelists, and spam ratings that you find acceptable. To access your old spam quarantine, go to

After filtering, e-mail may be tagged in the Subject line with the following:

[Phishing] Message contains a potential phishing attack
[SPAM] Message contains potential spam message

Removing SPAM from your inbox

E-mail that receives a SPAM score of 10.0 or above will not be delivered to your inbox. Instead, it is quarantined by SMTPIN. E-mail scored 5 or above but less than 10 will be tagged by adding ‘[SPAM]’ to the message’s “Subject” line and delivered to your inbox. You can divert these messages to a separate folder using your own local filtering tools.

The CS e-mail system uses procmail to deliver messages to a user’s inbox. You can create your own procmail recipes to re-direct your e-mail based on any number of criteria. If you want to set up additional folders, you may want to create a new ‘Mail’ directory in your Unix home directory. Then create a file called .procmailrc in your home directory with the following contents:


* ^SUBJECT:.*\[(SPAM|Phishing)

This simple recipe will re-direct any incoming message tagged as ‘[SPAM]’ or ‘[Phishing]’ to the mailbox ‘spam’ in the directory ‘$HOME/Mail’ (where $HOME expands to your own Unix home directory).

The .procmailrc file should be world-readable so that the e-mail system can access it. (E.g., chmod 644 .procmailrc) Search the web for additional information on procmail and its many uses.