Dan's Mail Format Site | Configuration | Pine

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Configuration: Pine

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NOTE: I haven't been getting around to updating these "configuration" articles nearly as often as I should. Mail programs and webmail interfaces are constantly coming out with new versions, often radically different from earlier ones, and regrettably, often less compliant with traditional standards and practices of mail formatting with each revision. If this article is out of step with the current version, my apologies; I'll try to update it one of these days.

Pine is a plain-text mail reader, similar to the ones that were used in the "good ol' days" prior to the introduction of GUI environments. It began as a mail reader for Unix systems, developed at the University of Washington, but was eventually ported over to PCs running MS-DOS or Windows as well. It's one of several mail readers named after trees, another one being Elm.

Configuring Pine

Pine is pretty well standards-compliant, so there's little to worry about in its configuration. However, a few of the configuration items do affect the format of outgoing mail.

To get to the setup menu from the main menu, type S.

[Screen Shot]

One item here is S, to create a signature block; you may want to use this to have a signature in your messages. The other items of interest, mail-format-wise, are in the configuration section, reachable by typing C.

[Screen Shot]

Some items of interest:

  • enable-sigdashes: If you have a signature block, you may want to use this to ensure that the standard "-- " (dash, dash, space) signature separator is used. If you do this, don't add the separator manually in the signature section, or you'll wind up with a double separator.
  • include-text-in-reply: Turn this on if you want to quote back the text of the original message in your replies (see my discussion of quoting and replying). The cursor starts out at the top of the quoted material, but this is not intended to encourage you to top-post your reply (note the lack of any blank space at the top, at least if you have the signature-at-bottom choice selected); rather, it is so you can start moving down through the quoted material and trimming out unneeded parts, while adding your replies in an interleaved manner.
  • signature-at-bottom: Puts the signature block where it belongs, at the very bottom of the message. If this is turned off, the sig block in replies is placed above the quoted material, forcing top-posting, and you don't want to do that, do you?
  • strip-from-sigdashes-on-reply: Causes signatures, with proper sig-dash separators, to be trimmed off from quoted messages when you reply to them. That is in fact the official function of the sig separator, to allow this.

[Screen Shot]

  • composer-wrap-column: A number giving the number of columns per line before the outbound text is wrapped. Keep it under 79 to comply with the line length standards.
  • reply-indent-string: The default setting of "> " is good for marking your replies in the traditional standard manner.


Next: PocoMail is yet another Windows GUI mail client.

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This page was first created 24 Mar 2007, and was last modified 24 Mar 2007.
Copyright © 2003-2011 by Daniel R. Tobias. All rights reserved.