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Mail on OpenVMS

Published: 01-04-2018 | Author: Remy van Elst | Text only version of this article

❗ This post is over six years old. It may no longer be up to date. Opinions may have changed.

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Last week I registered myself with the DECUServe OpenVMS system. I found out how to navigate the filesystem and create files and folders, it was awesome.

This week I learned how to use the OpenVMS MAIL program to read and reply to an email I got from George Cornelius, another user on the DECUServe system

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This blog item was put together using HP Enterprise's online documentation on the MAIL program.

I saw that George had send me an email, after we had a chat using the OpenVMS phone program. See my earlier article on that.

Login to your OpenVMS system and open the MAIL program:

 $ mail

You have 1 new message.


If you have new mail, you can just press ENTER on this prompt to read the first new email:

#1          29-MAR-2018 03:52:33.56                                  NEWMAIL
From:   EISNER::CORNELIUS    "George Cornelius"
Subj:   Hello again

Good talking with you, Remy.



To see an overview of all your messages, enter the DIR command at the MAIL> prompt:

      # From                 Date         Subject

      1 EISNER::CORNELIUS    29-MAR-2018  Hello again


To open messages, just press ENTER and the first message opens. Keep pressing ENTER to read all messages. When no more messages are available, the following message will be displayed:

%MAIL-E-NOMOREMSG, no more messages


To reply to a message, when opened, type REPLY at the mail prompt:

Subj:   RE: Hello again
Enter your message below. Press CTRL/Z when complete, or CTRL/C to quit:

When you're done typing your message, press CTRL+Z to send it:

Press RETURN to continue reading your mail


Send mail

At the MAIL> prompt, type SEND to start the interactive mail send program:

 $ mail

MAIL> send
Subj:   Test message
Enter your message below. Press CTRL/Z when complete, or CTRL/C to quit:

This is a test message since I'm now trying to figure out the mail program.

Hope you're doing well.

(CTRL+Z)  Exit


To send a message to an actual email address, type their full email address at the To: prompt.

From the DECUS system, it will arrive:

A reply will show up in your OpenVMS shell:

New mail on node EISNER from IN%""  "Remy van Elst"

From Google Apps the email looks a bit messed up due to all the headers:

 $ mail

You have 1 new message.

    #1          31-MAR-2018 15:26:54.11                                  NEWMAIL
From:   IN%""  "Remy van Elst"
To:     IN%""  "Remy Van Elst"
Subj:   RE: Tesrt message

Return-path: <>
Received: from
 ( []) by
 (PMDF V6.7-x02 #1529) with ESMTPS id <>
 for (ORCPT; Sat,
 31 Mar 2018 15:26:53 -0400 (EDT)
Received: from ([] EXTERNAL)
 (EHLO with TLS/SSL by
 ([]) (PreciseMail V3.2-7); Sat, 31 Mar 2018 15:26:50 -0400
Received: by with SMTP id j68-v6so16143869lfg.13 for
 <>; Sat, 31 Mar 2018 12:30:55 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by with HTTP; Sat, 31 Mar 2018 12:30:32 -0700 (PDT)
X-Received: by with SMTP id g19mr2209803lja.127.1522524652887; Sat,
 31 Mar 2018 12:30:52 -0700 (PDT)
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2018 21:30:32 +0200
From: Remy van EXAMPLE <>
Subject: Re: Tesrt message
In-reply-to: <>
To: Remy Van EXAMPLE <>
Message-id: <>
MIME-version: 1.0
Content-type: multipart/alternative;
Received-SPF: pass ( domain of designates as permitted sender) client-ip=;;
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;; s=google;
X-Google-DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;;
 s=20161025; h=x-gm-message-state:mime-version:in-reply-to:references:from:date
 :message-id:subject:to; bh=lKIiBr2zPziUkYl8cnUwPmF57r7kWxesulmzMGsLUUA=;
 Q2giXIrGZ2aFlP+Jj72s3K0fYp0w4V8etD/YkewgiXecku+dI3LJsGfl7FuWGYAo9fUV oxUg==
X-Gm-Message-State: ALQs6tCqL1HNX8KNCoUPAQtVQqfoUs07X0itWRd9gg3IBnWaspdiyKFv
X-PMAS-External: [] (EHLO
X-PMAS-REPUTATION_URI_NONSPAM: URI reputation check (0.000)
X-PMAS-VMF-OK: Envelope FROM: check: Source accepts mail for address (0.000)
X-PMAS-HDR-REFERENCES: Has a valid-looking References header (0.000)
X-PMAS-HDR-IN_REP_TO: Has a In-Reply-To header (0.000)
X-PMAS-BDY-MAILTO_LINK: Includes a URL link to send an email (0.100)

Press RETURN for more...

    #1          31-MAR-2018 15:26:54.11                                  NEWMAIL
X-PMAS-META-FROM_IS_TO2: Same From: and To: personal names,
 but not addresses (4.000)
X-PMAS-Spam-Level: ****
References: <>
Original-recipient: rfc822;
X-PMAS-Software: PreciseMail V3.2-7 [180329] (
X-PMAS-Final-Score: 4.100

Content-type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT

Test message arrived.

Hugs and kisses back!

On Sat, Mar 31, 2018 at 9:24 PM, Remy Van Elst <>

> Hugs and kisses from  a test message
> Remy

Content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable



Yay! Another OpenVMS facility I found out and used. I love this system, since 1977 it is rocking and still going strong!

Tags: alpha , blog , dec , decus , itanium , openvms , pdp , simh , vax , vms