Alpine is a great text mode email application

I have used pine as my main email application since 1993 and I'm not even considering to replace pine with a more modern email application as long as pine is available in the Unix system where I read my email. When I need to read email that has been sent to some of my private email accounts
(like the one I use for this blog) I most often use alpine installed on my Linux box.

Alpine is a rewrite of the original pine. Unlike pine it uses an Apache license that allows redistribution of modified versions of the application which makes it more acceptable for free software enthusiasts.

Alpine uses a simple menu interface for composing and viewing email messges. For writing a mail, it uses the extremely newbie friendly editor pico that can of course be used also as a standalone editor for editing any text files you might like to edit. From the main menu of Alpine one can enter the simple to use setup dialogues, where one can set many options including the signature, printer, non-default address books, rules for automativally filtering the messages in different folders, set the screen colors, and a lot more.

Most probably you receive your email not directly in your box but instead use a mail account provided by your ISP or for example Google. In fact, it is quite simple to configure Alpine to read and send email using a Gmail account like I have done for reading the lwlinux account I use for receiving mail about this blog.

If you want to use Alpine with Gmail, go first to the setup menu. Then select Config. In the next screenshot you will see how the settings for Gmail are done, only a few lines must be configured.

If you have never used a text mode email application you should at least give alpine a chance. It is easy to use and configure and a lot easier to use than most of the graphical email applications. You will soon realize how easy it is to read and write emails when you don't have to move your hand all the time between the keyboard and the mouse.

See also my previous articles about text mode Linux applications:
Burn CDs and DVDs with cdw | Remind is a lightweight tool for reminders | Lightest WWW browsers for Linux | Manage your contacts with abook


Koselara said...

I'm going to have to try this again... I got in over my head last August as a total *nix newbie trying to blend accounts with two providers, IMAP4, and Alpine. Ended up not reading/replying to mail for a month and using GUI-based Claws instead. :-/

Rick Bryan said...

Great post; thanks so much. Do you know if it's possible to configure Alpine to retrieve messages from multiple pop servers?

Mikko said...

Rick: No idea. Someone still using pop instead of imap?!

Anonymous said...

I realize this is and older post, but I wonder why text-mode configs were shown with images. this could be a good resource for folks trying to set up purely text mode environments, using links and alpine for browsing and email, if configs were displayed using text instead of jpegs.