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I've tried using mail for reading the e-mail messages in /var/spool/mail/root, but it's really a pain.
I've read that pine is better, but it seems not to be available for my linux (CentOS 5.4 x86_64). At least nothing appears when I type yum list pine.

Do you know of any other command line utility to read mail from there?

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Try mutt. Or elm. (Given that when you say command line utility you mean working in text mode.)

Edit: Even better, put an alias for root into /etc/mail/aliases to redirect root's mail to another account. Remember to run newaliases afterwards. This only works if you have a working MTA (Mail Transfer Agent) of course.

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    mutt -f /var/spool/mail/root – Warner Jul 2 '10 at 13:21
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Pine was replaced by Alpine some time ago.

Alpine is a fast, easy to use email client that is suitable for both the inexperienced email user as well as for the most demanding of power users. Alpine is based on the Pine® Message System, which was also developed at the University of Washington.

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You can use sup. It's a curses mail client inspired in mutt and gmail, written in ruby and actively developed.

If you install ruby and rubygems, just sudo gem install sup should be enough to install it.

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