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Setting Up Pine

Pine is a very flexible program so many things are possible. This can of course also make it complex to set up so please read the whole of this page before attempting to configure. If you need further help, the following is an excellent source of information


The following describes some basic settings which should help you get pine working with the Physics Department email system but is not meant as a complete or general reference.

Incoming mail (IMAP)

The connection string to use is of this form

mail.physics.ox.ac.uk/SSL/novalidate-cert/user=<login name>@physics.ox.ac.uk

replace <Login Name> with your physics network username. Note that this does NOT include the alias that was required with previous servers (e.g. j.bloggs1

So if your name was John Doe, part of your .pinerc would look like this


If you use the configuration interface inside pine, you'll need to type Main menu, then Setup then Configuration (M S C)

 You will probably also want to define a `folder collection` to enable you to access ALL folders in your exchange mailbox. To do this, go into the Main menu,then Setup then collectionLists (M S L). Replace the existing or create a new collection with e.g.

Nickname   :    Physics Exchange Server

Server :    mail.physics.ox.ac.uk/ssl/novalidate-cert/user=doe@physics.ox.ac.uk

Path :

View :

Note the path is blank, not the default of "/".

In pine, folders are usually relative to the first folder collection, so pine will then use the following folders on the exchange server. This is good because if you were to store these in local folders you would not be able to access them from other clients and hosts and you'd have to worry about the backups too.

Default Fcc (sent-items)

Postponed folder (saved-messages)

Trash Folder (trash)

Outgoing mail (SMTP)

The following makes a secure connection to the outgoing server. As its authenticated, this configuration can be used from outside of the department.


This will work from both inside and outside the department but please note that your `From:` or `Reply:` address can only be one of the email addresses associated with your exchange account. If you try to use another then you will get a `not authorised to use this address` message when you try to send. Pine can often only guess at what your From: address should be (based on your login id on the client system) so it is wise to set it explicitly e,g,

Customized Headers  = From: John Doe <john.doe@physics.ox.ac.uk>

(You may also need to change enable "Allow changing from" in the composer section of the preferences.)

Note also that we recommend using the client submission port, 587, rather than the default of 25. This is actually the right port to use and some ISP's block port 25 as it is intended only for communication between mail servers.

General Configuration

There are a number of configuration changes which will make pine work better for you.

Disable Kerberos Authentication:

When you start pine, you may get a popup message saying its attempting a kerberos login. This is unlikely to be useful for you and you can switch is off by finding the appropriate part of the .pinerc and editing to create the following


Give pine a list of all your email addresses:

Pine basically needs to know all your email addresses so that it can choose what kind of information to display when you list a folder. Specifically, it has a single column for an email address and it will display either the `From` or `To` address of the message depending on whether the `From` address is one of your email addresses. So to make this work properly go into the configuration menu (M S C) (or edit .pinerc)  and set the Altenate Addresses parameter e.g.

Alternate Addresses = j.doe1@physics.ox.ac.uk,


etc etc

Handling Read-items:

Pine has a mechanism to move anything that you've read in your inbox to the read-items folder whenever you exit from pine. Some people like this because it keeps the inbox small typically only showing new mail items. To enable this, define a read message folder e.g.

Read Message folder = read-items

This will create and maintain a folder on the exchange server called read-items. When you exit Pine you will be asked whether you want to expunge (permanently delete) the copies of read messages which are left behind in the inbox. You can change this behaviour using the configuration parameters in the `Pruning Rule` section. When you are happy that read messages are being moved to read-items properly, you may want to select an option where the expunge is done without warning.


Setup Pruning:

Pruning is a mechanism that typically runs once a month and moves messages from a folder into a date specific one. E.g. it may copy everything from `sent-items` into sent-items-mar-211. This helps to keep folders from becoming too large and therefore helps when searching for old messages. To enable this you can set e.g.

Pruned Folders =read-items,


Note that these folder names have to be relative to the Folder collection defined above. With these defined, pine you ask you on you once a month whether you want the existing content of these folders moved to a new folder with the date of the previous month.

Initial Keystroke:

If there you always go through the same procedure everytime you startup pine, you can use the `Initial Keystrokes` parameter to automate the process. e.g.

Initial Keystroke List = I$D

This example take you to the `Message Index` (usually your inbox) and then sorts the contents by sent date.

Address Book

You may want to contact to the department's email address book to automatically resolve name's when composing emails. Settings for this can be found in the general section on LDAP lookups.