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.
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
Brief mode. Produces less verbose output. If mailbox or Maildir is inside
user's home direcory, only relative path is printed to output.
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.
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.
Specify alternative rc file location. If provided, default locations (see
FILES) are not checked.
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 instead.
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
This is the site-default mailcheck configuration file. It should be
edited by the system administrator to meet the needs of most users on
This is the user-specific mailcheck configuration file. If it exists
for a particular user, the site-default configuration file will not
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