mail.local - store mail in a mailbox


mail.local [-7] [-b] [-d] [-D mbdb] [-l] [-f from|-r from] [-h filename ] user ...


Mail.local reads the standard input up to an end-of-file and appends it to each user’s mail file. The user must be a valid user name.

The options are as follows:


Do not advertise 8BITMIME support in LMTP mode.


Return a permanent error instead of a temporary error if a mailbox exceeds quota.


Specify this is a delivery (for backward compatibility). This option has no effect.

-D mbdb

Specify the name of the mailbox database which is used to look up local recipient names. This option defaults to "pw", which means use getpwnam().

-f from

Specify the sender’s name.


Turn on LMTP mode.

-r from

Specify the sender’s name (for backward compatibility). Same as -f.

-h filename

Store incoming mail in filename in the user’s home directory instead of a system mail spool directory.

The next options are only available if mail.local has been compiled with -DHASHSPOOL.

Select hashed mail directories. Valid hash types are u for user name and m for MD5 (requires compilation with -DHASHSPOOLMD5). Example: -H u2 selects user name hashing with a hash depth of 2. Note: there must be no space between the hash type and the depth.

-p path

Specify an alternate mail spool path.


Specify that the domain part of recipient addresses in LMTP mode should not be stripped.

Individual mail messages in the mailbox are delimited by an empty line followed by a line beginning with the string ’’From ’’. A line containing the string ’’From ’’, the sender’s name and a time stamp is prepended to each delivered mail message. A blank line is appended to each message. A greater-than character (’’>’’) is prepended to any line in the message which could be mistaken for a ’’From ’’ delimiter line (that is, a line beginning with the five characters ’’From ’’ following a blank line).

The mail files are exclusively locked with flock(2) while mail is appended, and a user.lock file also is created while the mailbox is locked for compatibility with older MUAs.

If the ’’biff’’ service is returned by getservbyname(3), the biff server is notified of delivered mail.

The mail.local utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.



Used to set the appropriate time zone on the timestamp.



temporary files


user’s default mailbox directory


lock file for a user’s default mailbox


mail(1), xsend(1), flock(2), getservbyname(3), comsat(8), sendmail(8)


mail.local escapes only "^From " lines that follow an empty line. If all lines starting with "From " should be escaped, use the ’E’ flag for the local mailer in the file.


A superset of mail.local (handling mailbox reading as well as mail delivery) appeared in Version 7 AT&T UNIX as the program mail.