Domain names are used to uniquely name each host on the Internet. A domain name has a number of parts separated by periods. Each label represents a level in the hierarchy. An example of a name is:
In this domain name the top-level label is edu, indicating it is at an educational institution, the second-level label is washington, indicating the University of Washington. cac is a specific department within the University of Washington, and olive is the host name. The top-level names are assigned by Internet organizations, and other names are assigned at the appropriate level. The Domain Name Service, DNS, is the distributed database used to look up these names.
Alpine relies on domain names in multiple places. A domain name is embedded into the message-id line generated for each piece of email. A domain name is needed to contact an IMAP server to get access to remote INBOXes and folders. Most importantly, domain names are needed to construct the From: line of your outgoing messages so that people on the Internet will be able to get email back to you.
On UNIX systems, you can set the domain via the user-domain
variable in the Alpine configuration file, or rely on the file
/etc/hosts which usually sets the name of the local host.
While Alpine can often deliver email without the domain name
configured, it is best to have this set correctly. Problems can usually be
solved by adjusting the system's entry in the
file. The fully-qualified name should be listed before any abbreviations.
is preferred over
220.127.116.11 olive.cac.washington.edu olive
18.104.22.168 olive olive.cac.washington.edu
On PCs, the task of configuring the domain name is a bit different. Often times PCs do not have domain names-they have IP addresses. IP addresses are the numbers which uniquely identify a computer on the network. The way you configure your IP address depends on the networking software which you use on the PC. You can refer to the documentation which came with your networking software or see the PC specific installation notes for help configuring the IP address with your network software.
With PCs, it is vital that users set the variable user-domain in the Alpine
configuration file (
Details on configuring Alpine with correct domain names can be found in the Domain Settings section of this document.
As far as outgoing email is concerned, Alpine fully-qualifies addresses whenever possible. They are even displayed in fully-qualified form on the terminal as the user composes a message. This makes addresses more clear and gives a hint to the user that the network extends beyond the local organization. Alpine implements fully-qualified domain names by tacking on the local domain to all unqualified addresses which a user types in. Any address which does not contain an "@" is considered unqualified.
The format for addresses allows for spaces and special characters in the full name of an address. For this reason, commas are required to separate addresses. If any special characters as defined in RFC 2822 appear in the full name, quotes are required around the address. Alpine will insert the quotes automatically if needed. The common cases where this happens are with periods after initials and parentheses.
Alpine expects dates to be in the standard RFC 822 format which is something like:
[www, ] dd mmm yy hh:mm[:ss] [timezone]It will attempt to parse dates that are not in this format. When an unparsable date is encountered it is shown as question marks in the FOLDER INDEX screen.
All outgoing email is delivered to an SMTP server
or to a mail transfer agent.
A common mail transfer agent is
The usual method of delivery used by Alpine is to use either a
local or a remote SMTP server.
The selection of which MTA to use depends on the settings of smtp-server, sendmail-path, and compile-time options. The first MTA specified in the following list is used:
DF_SENDMAIL_PATHdefined at compile time.
SENDMAILFLAGSdefined at compile time.
If the sendmail-path form is used, a child process is forked, and the specified command is executed with the message passed on standard input. Standard output is then passed back and displayed for the user. NOTE: The program MUST read the message to be posted on standard input, AND operate in the style of sendmail's "-t" option. This method is not recommended unless there are special reasons you want to do this.
If an smtp-server is specified, Alpine operates as an SMTP client. SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol; it specifies the rules by which computers on the Internet pass email to one another. In this case, Alpine passes outgoing email messages to a designated SMTP server instead of to a mail transfer program on the local machine. A program on the server then takes care of delivering the message. To make Alpine operate as an SMTP client, the smtp-server variable must be set to the IP address or host name of the SMTP server within your organization. This variable accepts a comma separated list of servers, so you can specify multiple alternate SMTP servers. PC-Alpine only runs as an SMTP client so the smtp-server option is mandatory.
For UNIX Alpine,
if neither smtp-server or sendmail-path is set,
sendmail program is
invoked with the "
-bs -odb -oem" flags, and the message
is sent using the SMTP protocol.
Alpine is an IMAP4rev1 client.
The MIME standard was officially published in June of 1992 as RFC 1341 and subsequently revised in RFC 2045 when it became a full Internet Standard. Pine 3.0 was one of the first email programs to Implement MIME. Now, there are dozens of commercial and freely available MIME-capable email programs. In addition, MIME is being added to newsreaders so MIME messages can be posted and read in USENET newsgroups.
The MIME standard also includes support for non-ASCII text in message headers through the extensions described in RFC 1342 and subsequently revised in RFC 2047.
An actual MIME message looks something like this:
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 1996 15:39:35 -0800 (PST) From: David L Miller <email@example.com> To: David L Miller <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: =?iso-8859-1?Q?Test_MIME_message_with_RFC-1522_headers_=28=E1?= =?iso-8859-1?Q?=E2=E3=29?= Message-Id: <Pine.ULT.3.92.960312150851.21583Iemail@example.com> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: MULTIPART/MIXED; BOUNDARY="0-1737669234-826673975=:21583" Content-Id: <Pine.ULT.3.92.960312153928.21583O@shiva2.cac.washington.edu> This message is in MIME format. The first part should be readable text, while the remaining parts are likely unreadable without MIME-aware tools. Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. --0-1737669234-826673975=:21583 Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCII Content-ID: <Pine.ULT.3.92.960312153104.21583L@shiva2.cac.washington.edu> The text of the message would go here. It is readable if one doesn't mind wading around a little bit of the MIME formatting. After this is a binary file in base 64 encoding. |\ | |\/| David L. Miller email@example.com (206) 685-6240 |/ |_ | | Software Engineer, Pine Development Team (206) 685-4045 (FAX) University of Washington, Networks & Distributed Computing, JE-20 4545 15th Ave NE, Seattle WA 98105, USA --0-1737669234-826673975=:21583 Content-Type: APPLICATION/ZIP; NAME="test.zip" Content-Transfer-Encoding: BASE64 Content-ID: <Pine.ULT.3.92.960312153638.21583N@shiva2.cac.washington.edu> Content-Description: Test Attachment UEsDBBQAAAAIAGh8bCBbZKT4ygIAAHgFAAAEAAAAdGVzdIVUX2vbMBB/16c4 9rSBNyjsYX1UHSUROLInycv2qNhKI5ZYxlLa5dvvpDRLw6CFgJF09/t3Rxo3 WDBDD43rPJjJQpxMbw9m+h3AbyHuLLSDe7JTcPGUbtYm7NzwGP3wBYQnnT8c 7NQ5s4djsC8t4QbmYE6wsfjpLTy7uPPHCOPk/ATPk4vRDmS008GF4PzwPich zY3m4LfxOQlPNy4GcEO3P/a2h2j/xGyp9ONpco+7CHf33+4/393ff4XNibzL c1UVfXJXQIdIBRx877b4TYy9C3Fym2NEyzsX/pNDet8dD3aIJiagLbo2wwnG 4zT6cK66ZLK1NhH9J4tcZQEy7OxkNyd4nMwQbV9glP7JZb87E3O32fgnm7We XQ8+us4SM47WTCkgMPt9enc2ZAW5c+Pj7o32l0IXXk/r8pSRE3A4jqOfIqqF G+PFlSdRDOaQduXNESTwtDcYfJ8191gWXUjYmOJ43Oxdh11JTzRuSPcY37+B vNqmf0O5RB1G27mt64rLCp4X8pW1L6BvxunCeYHNk3F7s9lb+GAwyvAhOyNE Lxm0gv9gUnH9C+o5rKlacrHQtYAZV2VF+UoBrSp8kJIKzZkqgP1sJFMKagl8 1VSczQqy5noJki2onIGuQS+5AlXPNfaxArgoq3aGwJDq6lZDxVdcU82RKMG/ 4JArTVKzYrJc4pE+8CoJpGIGc65FIp8jO4WGSs3LtqISmlY2tUKyVMUFETWw H0xoUMvE8KbXB4aC6EPFzrDiF6iGlZxWBeFixiUrdXJb1kKx7y2C4hPM6Iou WI4hdVyO6yXVqkZqiXmottLJ9lzWK1LVKttqk8oZ1TS1NrJGS5jqeslQI0aK ieCvzNlgNZJqiccCc5WafLxmKdii4gsmSvYpISkteamzkRwXJiG5SoUpcERK 8xIE8QQ7o+eh5WAUy1qYRP8rioip/maI+OfyF1BLAQIUAxQAAAAIAGh8bCBb ZKT4ygIAAHgFAAAEAAAAAAAAAAEAAACkgQAAAAB0ZXN0UEsFBgAAAAABAAEA MgAAAOwCAAAAAA== --0-1737669234-826673975=:21583--For details about Alpine's implementation of MIME, see the two MIME sections "MIME: Reading a Message" and "MIME: Sending a Message" later in this document.
For a more complete description of Folder Collections, see the section on "Syntax for Collections."
The Alpine distribution is designed to require as little configuration and effort at compile time as possible. Still, there are some Alpine behaviors which are set at the time you compile Alpine. For each of these, there is a reasonable (our opinion) default built into the code, so most systems administrators will have no need for these steps.