The Alpine Message System
Alpine, is a tool for reading, sending, and managing electronic
messages built upon the venerable Pine Message System. It was
designed specifically with novice computer users in mind, but can be
tailored to accommodate the needs of "power users" as well. Alpine
uses Internet message protocols (e.g. RFC-822, SMTP, MIME, IMAP, NNTP)
and runs on Unix and PCs.
The guiding principles for Alpine's user-interface were: careful
limitation of features, one-character mnemonic commands,
always-present command menus, immediate user feedback, and high
tolerance for user mistakes. It is intended that Alpine can be learned
by exploration rather than by reading manuals. At the same time, Alpine
is highly customizable and provides numerous advanced features
intended to help the most experienced users manage large mail
Alpine's message composition editor (Pico) and its file browser (Pilot) are
also available as separate stand-alone programs. Pico is a very simple
and easy-to-use text editor offering paragraph justification, cut/paste,
and a spelling checker.
- Online help specific to each screen and context.
- Message index showing a message summary which includes the status,
sender, size, date and subject of messages.
- Commands to view and process messages: Forward, Reply, Save,
Export, Print, Delete, capture address, and search.
- Message composer with easy-to-use editor and spelling checker.
The message composer also assists entering and formatting
addresses and provides direct access to the address book.
- Address book for saving long complex addresses and personal
distribution lists under a nickname.
- Message attachments via the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions
(MIME) specification. MIME allows sending/receiving non-text
objects, such as binary files, spreadsheets, graphics, and sound.
- Folder management commands for creating, deleting, listing, or
renaming message folders. Folders may be local or on remote hosts.
- Access to remote message folders and archives via the Internet
Message Access Protocol version 4.1 (IMAP) as defined in RFC-2060.
- Internet news support via either NNTP or IMAP.
- Aggregate operations, e.g. saving a selected set of messages at once.
Alpine, Web Alpine, PC-Alpine, Pico, and UW's IMAP server are made
freely available under the Apache License, Version 2.0. The latest
version, including source code, can be found on the Internet host
"ftp.cac.washington.edu" in the file "alpine/alpine.tar.Z" (accessible
via anonymous FTP).
For further information, visit the Alpine Information Center at
Alpine is brought to you by the Office of Computing & Communications at the
University of Washington.