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Read Emails from your System using Evolution May 25, 2006

Posted by Carthik in administration, maintenance, ubuntu.

The system installed on your PC sends you mails. You usually see a message saying “You have new mail.” when you open a new terminal window. Some of these emails report errors, when things didn’t go right. Some list things that need to be done after some software is installed/upgraded. In any case, the assumption is that you read these mails. You can also send other users on the system mail messages using this system, but since I assume this is only for a standalone PC with users you can talk to if needed (I am sure your significant other would rather hear what you have to say, that read it in a system mail message 😉 )

You can read them using pine or mutt (after you install them) from the command line, but what’s better is that you can read them using Evolution. Follow the instructions below to do so:

In Evolution:

  1. Select Edit->Preferences
  2. Select the “Mail Accounts” tab and click “Add”
  3. Fill in the required fields, when asked for e-mail address, input USERNAME@HOSTNAME (where USERNAME is your username and HOSTNAME is the hostname of the machine (try “localhost” if you aren’t sure)
  4. For “Server Type in Receiving Email”, select “Local Delivery”. In input box Path enter: /var/spool/mail/USERNAME (replace USERNAME with your username).
  5. Follow throw and complete creating the account

You’re done. Now you can read the local system mail using Evolution.


1. user - May 25, 2006

Is this just in Breezy? I am running Dapper and there is no /var/spool/mail/MYUSERNAME –there isn’t anything there.

I recall using “mail” to read these messages in Breezy, but in Dapper the command is not found, perhaps as a result of the Bash upgrade?

2. ubuntonista - May 25, 2006


I do find a /var/spool/mail/my-username file on my Dapper system. However, I don’t find the mail command anymore. Strange.

3. user - May 25, 2006

I admit to being the one who posted a comment anonymously…here’s a link to where I’m asking on the ubuntuforums for ideas with this issue…


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how do I display received mail message headers in Evolution?

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5. MozillaFan - July 16, 2006

Can Thunderbird do this? How does it work?


6. Linux-box - November 17, 2006
7. relain - April 10, 2007

Great, also works with thunderbird! I used the unix movemail account, now i can finally see what the hell cron has been complaining about without having to less through all that junk!

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I admit to being the one who posted a comment anonymously…here’s a link to where I’m asking on the ubuntuforums for ideas with this issue…

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