MSGS(1) BSD General Commands Manual MSGS(1)NAMEmsgs — system messages and junk mail program
SYNOPSISmsgs [-fhlpq] [number] [-number]
msgs [-c] [-days]
The msgs utility is used to read system messages. These messages are
sent by mailing to the login `msgs' and should be short pieces of infor‐
mation which are suitable to be read once by most users of the system.
The msgs utility is normally invoked each time you login, by placing it
in the file .login (or .profile if you use sh(1)). It will then prompt
you with the source and subject of each new message. If there is no sub‐
ject line, the first few non-blank lines of the message will be dis‐
played. If there is more to the message, you will be told how long it is
and asked whether you wish to see the rest of the message. The possible
-y Type the rest of the message.
RETURN Synonym for y.
-n Skip this message and go on to the next message.
- Redisplay the last message.
-q Drop out of msgs; the next time msgs will pick up where it
last left off.
-s Append the current message to the file ``Messages'' in the
current directory; `s-' will save the previously displayed
message. A `s' or `s-' may be followed by a space and a file
name to receive the message replacing the default ``Mes‐
-m A copy of the specified message is placed in a temporary
mailbox and mail(1) is invoked on that mailbox. Both `m' and
`s' accept a numeric argument in place of the `-'.
The msgs utility keeps track of the next message you will see by a number
in the file .msgsrc in your home directory. In the directory /var/msgs
it keeps a set of files whose names are the (sequential) numbers of the
messages they represent. The file /var/msgs/bounds shows the low and
high number of the messages in the directory so that msgs can quickly
determine if there are no messages for you. If the contents of bounds is
incorrect it can be fixed by removing it; msgs will make a new bounds
file the next time it is run with the -s option. If msgs is run with any
option other than -s, an error will be displayed if /var/msgs/bounds does
The -s option is used for setting up the posting of messages. The line
msgs: "| /usr/bin/msgs -s"
should be included in /etc/mail/aliases (see newaliases(1)) to enable
posting of messages.
The -c option is used for performing cleanup on /var/msgs. A shell
script entry to run msgs with the -c option should be placed in
/etc/periodic/daily (see periodic(8)) to run every night. This will
remove all messages over 21 days old. A different expiration may be
specified on the command line to override the default. You must be the
superuser to use this option.
Options when reading messages include:
-f Do not say ``No new messages.''. This is useful in a .login
file since this is often the case here.
-q Queries whether there are messages, printing ``There are new
messages.'' if there are. The command ``msgs -q'' is often
used in login scripts.
-h Print the first part of messages only.
-l Cause only locally originated messages to be reported.
num A message number can be given on the command line, causing
msgs to start at the specified message rather than at the
next message indicated by your .msgsrc file. Thus
prints the first part of all messages.
-number Start number messages back from the one indicated in the
.msgsrc file, useful for reviews of recent messages.
-p Pipe long messages through more(1).
Within msgs you can also go to any specific message by typing its number
when msgs requests input as to what to do.
The msgs utility uses the HOME and TERM environment variables for the
default home directory and terminal type.
~/.msgsrc number of next message to be presented
SEE ALSOmail(1), more(1), aliases(5), periodic(8)HISTORY
The msgs command appeared in 3.0BSD.
BSD April 28, 1995 BSD