Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science



Programs

This document describes several Unix/Linux programs for managing email, editing files, and compiling code.

Email clients

An email client, or mail user agent (MUA), is a program used to manage email. Two such programs – Pine and Mutt – are discussed in this document.

Pine

Pine, short for Program for Internet News and E-mail, was originally developed at the University of Washington as a text-based email client for inexperienced email users. Since then, Pine has had many advanced features added to it. On EECS systems, Pine is available in the directory /usr/local/bin/.

To start using Pine, add the directory listed above to your search path. (For instructions on adding directories to your path, see the corresponding section on the dotfiles page.) Pine allows you to view and manipulate the emails in your inbox using the default configuration. To run Pine, type pine. Pine presents a frontend for viewing your mail spool file.

The main menu provides a list of options: ? (help), C (compose message), I (message index), L (folder list), A (address book), S (setup), and Q (quit). To view your inbox, press I. This will allow you to view the email messages that are currently in your inbox. To view the individual messages, use the arrow keys to select the desired message, then press return. The arrow keys allow you to scroll up and down through the email message. To return to your inbox while viewing an email message, press I. To delete a message, select that message (using the arrow keys), then press D. To compose a new message, press C and fill in the appropriate fields. When you are ready to send your email, press Ctrl-X.

This basic knowledge of Pine should allow you to do most of actions to manage your email. For more information on using Pine, see Getting Started with Using Pine.

Mutt

Mutt is another common, text-based email client. On EECS systems, Mutt is available in the directory /usr/local/bin/.

To start using Mutt, add the directory listed above to your search path. (For instructions on adding directories to your path, see the corresponding section on the dotfiles page.) To run Mutt, type mutt.

You should immediately see your inbox. To view a message, press return. When viewing a message, you can scroll up and down by using the return and backspace keys. To view the previous or next message, use the up and down arrow keys respectively. To delete a message, press D.

To compose a new message, press M. Mutt will prompt you for the message's recipients. Enter the full email address(es), then press return. Repeat this step for the subject line. Next, a text editor (usually vi or Pico) will open, allowing you to append your email message to the bottom of the file. Warning: Do not remove or modify any of the header information unless you know what you are doing. Doing so may create email delivery problems. When you are finished composing your message, exit out of the text editor. (For vi, type :wq; for Pico, press Ctrl-X.) You will presented with a screen containing several actions (e.g., send the message, attach files, abort the email, or change the email). When you are ready to send the message, press Y.

This basic knowledge of Mutt should allow you to do most of actions to manage your email. For more information on using Mutt, see MUTT Frequently Asked Questions and My First MUTT.

Text editors

A text editor is a type of program used for editing plain text files. Four such programs – vi/vim, Pico, Emacs, and LaTeX – are discussed in this document.

vi and vim

vi, short for visual, has been thought of as the “programmer's true text editor.” For more information about vi, see Mastering the VI Editor. vi is installed to /usr/local/bin/vi.

An often-overlooked editor related to vi is vim. vim, short for vi improved, has all the necessary features of vi with the inclusion of numerous helpful features (e.g., syntax highlighting, line numbers, macro recording, etc.). For more information about vim, see the vim documentation. vim is installed to /usr/local/bin/vim.

Pico

Pico, short for Pine composer, is fairly easy to use, but is not generally used by computer programmers. For more information, see the Pico tutorial. Pico is installed to /usr/local/sfw/bin/pico.

Emacs

Emacs is another text editor favored by computer programmers. Documentation for Emacs can be found in the GNU Emacs Manual. Emacs is installed to /usr/local/sfw/bin/emacs.

LaTeX

LaTeX (pronounced “lah-tek”) is a document markup language and document preparation system for the TeX typesetting program. LaTeX is primarily used for creating mathematical, scientific, and other technical documents (e.g., journal articles). For documentation and tutorials, see Text Processing Using LaTeX. LaTeX is installed to /usr/local/teTeX/bin/latex.


 

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