Announcing the Pine Mailer

Skip to first unread message

Michael Seibel

Mar 25, 1992, 9:19:49 PM3/25/92
It's somewhat out of the bag, but just to make it official...


Michael Seibel
Networks and Distributed Computing
University of Washington, Seattle (206) 543 - 0359




Pine is a mailer developed by the University of Washington Office of
Computing and Communications. It has been designed for ease-of-use and
with the novice computer user in mind. It is based on Internet mail
protocols (e.g. RFC-822, SMTP, IMAP, and MIME) and currently runs on a
variety of UNIX platforms.

The guiding principles for achieving ease-of-use in Pine were: careful
limitation of features, one-character mnemonic commands, always-present
command menus, immediate user feedback, and high tolerance for user
mistakes. It is intended that Pine can be learned by exploration rather
than reading manuals. Feedback from the University of Washington
community and a growing number of Internet sites has been encouraging.

A stand-alone version of Pico, Pine's message composition editor, is also
available. It is a very simple and easy to use text editor with text
justification and a spelling checker.


- Mail index showing a message summary which includes the status,
sender, size, date and subject of messages.

- View and process mail with the following commands: forward, reply,
save, export, print, delete, capture address and search.

- Address book for saving long complex addresses and personal
distribution lists under a nickname.

- Multiple folders and folder management screen for filing messages.

- Message composer with easy-to-use editor and spelling checker.
The message composer also assists entering and formatting
addresses and provides direct access to the address book.

- Online help specific to each screen and context.

- Supports access to remote mail repositories via the IMAP2 protocol
defined in RFC-1176.


- Integral SMTP support for easy installation on Unix workstations.
(This is desirable when Pine is used as an IMAP client of a shared
mail server, since it obviates the need for installing and configuring
sendmail on each workstation.)

- Support for multi-part mail conforming to proposed MIME Internet
standard, allowing sending of sounds, graphics such as GIF and
TIFF files, and binary files such as spreadsheets.

- Permit a user-specified editor for message composition.

- Port Pine to MS-DOS (Stanford's Mailstrom is recommended for Macs.)


Pine and Pico, including source code, are freely available via anonymous
FTP from on the Internet. Other provisions for
distribution have not been made. From the Internet, you may try out Pine
and leave comments by telneting to "" and logging
in as "pinedemo". To join the Pine mailing list for announcements send a
request to "".

Pine is very portable and runs on a variety of UNIX machines including
DECstations, NeXTs, VAX's and Suns. Pine was originally based on Elm,
but it has evolved much since, ("Pine Is No-longer Elm").

For further information send e-mail to Pine is
the work of Mike Seibel, Mark Crispin, and Laurence Lundblade at the
University of Washington.


Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages