I'm wondering if there is a linux command line email client that has live monitoring -- so you leave the program open, and when it receives an email it prints a note to the shell.

I want this for debugging purposes - so I can send an email from one shell and see when it is received on another. I know there are other ways to do this with logs, but this would be nice for display purposes.


PINE (Program for Internet News and Email) does this.
Most *NIX systems also ship with some variant of the biff command which will notify you when you have new mail.

Note that no email client I know of is realtime (except possibly Outlook hooked up to an Exchange server where delivery notifications may be sent by RPC-over-HTTP) -- They all poll the server at a specific interval and report when they see new mail.
For real, time-accurate information on when mail was sent or received you must (a) ensure your system's time is accurate and (b) examine the (timestamped) log files.

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  • 1
    Pine is no longer in development. Alpine is it's successor: washington.edu/alpine – Red Tux Nov 1 '11 at 18:12
  • Equivalent functionality I assume? – voretaq7 Nov 1 '11 at 18:19

Mutt does this.

It also includes the IMAP IDLE mechanism which introduces nearly realtime updates. Only if your IMAP server also supports IMAP IDLE.

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