elm - an interactive mail system


elm [ −achkKMmrtwz ] [ −f alternate-folder ] [ −d debug-level ]
[ −s subject ] list of aliases or addresses


Elm is an interactive screen-oriented mailer program that supersedes mail and mailx.

There are three main ways to use the elm mailer. One way to use the mailer is to specify a list of addresses on the command line when the mailer is invoked. This will allow sending of a single message to the specified recipients with all the options usually available in the elm system itself. For example, the command

elm -s testing joe

would initiate the sending of a message to the alias joe with the subject "testing" indicated and would put you into an editor for you to enter the text of the message. If the subject flag and argument were not present, you would be prompted for a message subject.

The second way, used most commonly when transmitting files and such, is to specify the subject of the message and the recipients using the command line and redirect a file as standard input. For example, the command

     elm -s testing joe < test.c

would mail a copy of the file test.c to alias joe, with the subject "testing" indicated. The subject flag and argument are optional.

The third way, elm is invoked with neither subject nor addresses specified on the command line and without standard input redirected. You can then read any messages in your incoming mailbox (or specified folder), reply to messages in the mailbox, mail messages, etc.

Options are:


Arrow - force the arrow cursor (instead of the inverse bar)


Checkalias - expand the following aliases and return.

-d level

Debug - set specified debug level - Output to "$HOME/ELM:debug.info"

-f alternative-folder

Folder - read folder (specified) rather than the incoming mailbox.


Help - give a list of starting options.

-i file

Include - include prepared file in edit buffer for sending.


Synonymous with the "-h" option.


Keypad - force knowledge of HP terminal keyboard, to allow the use of the NEXT, PREV and HOME/SHIFT-HOME keys.


Keypad + softkeys - enable use of softkeys on HP terminals only.


Magic mode - treat all folders as if they were the spool folder (lock, update Status: headers, etc.).


Menu off - Use the extra lines for more message headers.

-s subj

Subject - specify subject for message to mail.


tite - turn off usage of the termcap/terminfo ti/te sequence.


Version - print version and configuration information.


Zero - don’t enter Elm if no mail is pending.


Elm Development Group


The Elm documentation package, including: The Elm Users Guide, The Elm Reference Guide, The Elm Alias System Users Guide, The Elm Forms Mode Guide, The Elm Filter Guide, The Elm Configuration Guide

checkalias(1L), frm(1L), mail(1), mailx(1), newalias(1L), printmail(1L), readmsg(1L)


REPLYTO Default replyto address.
TERM The user’s terminal type.
LOGNAME User login name.
USER Altername user login name.
HOME The user’s home directory.
MAIL Location of mail file.
LINES Number of row on the screen.
COLUMNS Number of columns on the screen.
SHELL The user’s shell of choice.
PAGER Command to use for displaying multiple
page mails. Defaults to "builtin+".
TMPDIR Directory to place temporary files.
EDITOR Editor to use.
NOMETAMAIL If set, do not use metamail.


/usr/local/lib/elm-help.* help files
/usr/local/lib/aliases.text system alias source
/usr/local/lib/aliases.dir system alias dbz directory table
/usr/local/lib/aliases.pag system alias dbz hash table
/usr/local/lib/aliases system alias data table
/usr/local/lib/aliases.hash system alias hash table
/usr/local/lib/aliases.data system alias data table
$HOME/.elm/aliases.text user alias source
$HOME/.elm/aliases.dir user alias dbz directory table
$HOME/.elm/aliases.pag user alias dbz hash table
$HOME/.elm/aliases user alias data table
$HOME/.elm/elmrc customized mailer parameters
$HOME/.elm/elmheaders customized message headers
/tmp/snd.$$ outgoing mail edit buffer
/tmp/mbox.logname temporary mailbox
$HOME/ELM:debug.info Debug output if turned on


Should know about keyboards/softkey terminals other than HP. (If only termcap were that powerful!)


Bill Pemberton flash@virginia.edu


Copyright 1988-1995 by The USENET Community Trust
Derived from Elm 2.0, Copyright 1986, 1987 by Dave Taylor